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Divers opening up closed rooms to search for 70 missing victims in South Korea ferry disaster

  • South-Korea-Ship-Sinking-132

    A woman cries as she pays tribute to the victims of the sunken ferry Sewol at a group memorial altar in Ansan, South Korea, Saturday, May 3, 2014. More than 300 people are dead or missing in the disaster that has caused widespread grief, anger and shame. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • South-Korea-Ship-Sinking-137

    A boy waits to pay tribute to the victims of the sunken ferry Sewol at a group memorial altar in Ansan, South Korea, Saturday, May 3, 2014. More than 300 people are dead or missing in the disaster that has caused widespread grief, anger and shame. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • South-Korea-Ship-Sinking-138

    Crying women are silhouetted as they pay tribute to the victims of the sunken ferry Sewol at a group memorial altar in Ansan, South Korea, Saturday, May 3, 2014. More than 300 people are dead or missing in the disaster that has caused widespread grief, anger and shame. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

SEOUL, South Korea — Divers battled strong currents and wind Saturday to search unopened rooms in a sunken South Korean ferry for 70 missing passengers, officials said today.

The divers will focus on opening up six rooms on the third and fourth floors while again combing places already searched, emergency task force spokesperson Ko Myung-seok. The task force says 58 out of 64 target areas have been searched.

“It took a while to develop routes, but after the routes were developed to some degree, opening up the rooms and getting inside worked out in a short period of time,” Ko said.

The bodies of 230 victims have been retrieved; 189 were found inside the ferry while 41 were found floating in the sea.

Task force spokesperson Park Seung-ki said families are worried about the condition of the lost bodies, since so much time has passed.

“To ease the families’ mental pain and help them keep better memories of the victims, the government will provide restoration services of damaged bodies,” Park said.

The South Korean passenger liner Sewol was carrying 476 people, mostly from a single high school, when it sank on April 16. Only 174 people survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members.

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