Many of the children's bodies recovered from the sunken South Korea ferry in the past two days had broken fingers, local media reported - suggesting the victims had frantically tried to climb walls or floors to escape in their final moments.
Divers continued to swim though dark, cold waters into the submerged Sewol Wednesday, feeling for bodies with their hands in a maze of cabins, corridors and upturned decks.
"We have to touch everything with our hands,” said diver Hwang Dae-sik, whose team had retrieved 14 bodies so far.
“This is the most grueling and heartbreaking job of my career," he said.
Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, 339 were children and teachers on a high school outing. Only 174 people have been rescued.
The death toll reached 150 on Wednesday, leaving 152 others people still missing after more than a week.
With oxygen and communications lines trailing, divers can only see a few inches in front of them in the wreckage of the ship, and are limited to working an hour at a time.
First published April 23 2014, 5:17 AM