Searchers recover more bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

Story highlights

  • The retrieval of 5 bodies brings the number of people confirmed dead to 281
  • A further 23 people remain missing after the sinking last month
  • Most of the dead and missing are students from the same high school

Divers recovered five more bodies Wednesday from the wreck of the Sewol, the South Korean ferry that sank last month with hundreds of people on board.

The latest retrievals bring the number of people confirmed dead in the disaster to 281, the South Korean government said. A further 23 people remain missing, although hopes of finding any survivors have evaporated.

Most of the dead and missing are students, all from the same high school, who were taking the ferry to the South Korean resort island of Jeju for a field trip. It capsized and sank off the country's southwestern coast on April 16.

The disaster caused widespread outrage in South Korea over lax safety standards and the failure to rescue more people as the ship foundered.

Crew members of the ship and staff of the company that operated it have been arrested and are facing criminal charges.

President Park Geun-hye has apologized over the government's handling of the disaster and pledged to overhaul safety systems.

Diver searching sunken ferry off South Korea dies