"More than 130 rescue ships and some 40 fishing boats were scouring waters near the scene to search possible bodies swept away from the submerged vessel. "
Seoul, May 21 - The toll in the April 16 South Korean ferry tragedy Wednesday rose to 288 with one more body recovered from the sunken ship earlier in the day, the disaster response centre said.
On the 36th day of the search, 288 people have been confirmed dead, with 16 others still missing. No survivor has been reported since 172 people were saved April 16, the day the ferry Sewol capsized and sank off the southwestern island of Jindo, Xinhua reported.
Koh Myung-seok, spokesman of the pan-government accident response centre, told a press briefing that a female body was retrieved from the submerged hull in the morning and divers will continue to search for more bodies of victims.
Koh said Tuesday that all coast guard officers will make all-out efforts to search for those missing even as President Park Geun-hye declared her plan to disband the coast guard for its failure in the initial stage rescue.
The coast guard and government ministries have been under public criticism for the slow pace of initial rescue operations, which otherwise could have saved more passengers, mostly high school students.
More than 130 rescue ships and some 40 fishing boats were scouring waters near the scene to search possible bodies swept away from the submerged vessel.
Among the 476 passengers and crew on board the ill-fated ship were 325 students and 14 teachers from Danwon High School in Ansan, a city south of Seoul.