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S. Korea lowers survivor count in ferry disaster

  • South-Korea-Ship-Sinks

    A Buddhist monk prays for the victims and missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol at a group memorial altar in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 7, 2014. The ferry disaster left more than 200 people dead, with others still missing. Government and civilian divers are fighting rapid currents as they try to retrieve the remaining bodies.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • South-Korea-Ship-Sinks-1

    A woman attaches yellow ribbons for the victims and missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol at a group memorial altar in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 7, 2014. The sinking has caused a national grief. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • South-Korea-Ship-Sinks-2

    A girl with a man puts a paper ship she made to pay tribute to the victims and missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol at a group memorial altar in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 7, 2014. The ferry disaster left more than 200 people dead, with others still missing. Government and civilian divers are fighting rapid currents as they try to retrieve the remaining bodies. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

SEOUL, South Korea  — Three weeks after South Korea’s ferry tragedy, the government says it miscounted the number of survivors, a stunning error and the latest of many missteps that have eroded the nation’s confidence in its leaders.

Coast guard chief Kim Suk-kyoon said today that only 172 people survived the April 16 sinking of the ferry Sewol — not 174, as the government had been saying since April 18.

Kim also said there are two more missing passengers than authorities previously knew about. Both are Chinese nationals.

That change raises the number of people feared dead to 304. So far 269 bodies have been recovered, and divers are searching for 35 more people. More than 80 percent of the dead are students from a single high school near Seoul.

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