Death toll in sunken South Korean 'Sewol' ferry climbs to 50

Marine officials have retrieved 13 more bodies inside the sunken South Korean 'Sewol' ferry bringing the death toll to 50. The arrival of the dead bodies corresponds with the South Korean coast guard's announcement.

Candle light vigil at South Korea for the sunken ferry
Candle light vigil at South Korea for the safe return of missing passengers of sunken ferry | Photo Credit: Reuters

The number of those unaccounted for stood at 252 early Sunday.

CNN reports that while 174 were rescued shortly after the vessel sunk Wednesday, there have been none saved since despite extensive, exhaustive searches by air, from ships and by divers plunging into the frigid waters

The search and rescue team has now turned into an attempt to recover more than 200 bodies - many of them children - from the wreck of the ferry that capsized on Wednesday morning.

South Korean officials said Saturday they are sending in 176 ships, 28 aircraft and 652 divers to take part in the search and rescue efforts.

Updated reports said that at least 256 people are missing after the Sewol sank off South Korea's southern coast with 476 people on board.

The tragedy is now called the South Korea's deadliest maritime accident in 21 years.

Some reports say that the ferry, on a 400-km voyage from the mainland port of Incheon to the Korean resort island of Jeju, may have turned sharply and then listed before capsizing.

Reuters reported that the three crew members, including the 69-year-old captain, were arrested on Saturday and charged with crimes relating to negligence.

Senior prosecutor ang Jung-jin told reporters that the captain has abandoned people in need of help and rescue and "escaped before the passengers."

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