JINDO, South Korea -- The official death toll from South Korea's ferry disaster passed 100 early Tuesday with nearly twice that number still trapped inside the sunken vessel.
The number of bodies pulled from the Sewol reached 108 as more details emerged about the ship's final moments before it capsized and sank off the southwestern island of Jindo.
Only two of the vessel's 46 lifeboats were deployed.
The death toll has been ticking up more rapidly in recent days since divers have been able to get into the hull of the capsized boat. Some 194 people are still believed to be inside.
Efforts have been slowed by poor weather conditions and murky water, with divers reporting that they have been unable to see their hands in front of their faces.
Families who once dreamed of miraculous rescues now simply hope their loved ones' remains are recovered soon, before the ocean does much more damage.
"At first, I was just very sad, but now it's like an endless wait," Woo Dong-suk, a construction worker and uncle of one of the students, told The Associated Press. "It's been too long already. The bodies must be decayed. The parents' only wish right now is to find the bodies before they are badly decomposed."
Bodies are being identified visually, but family members have been providing DNA samples in case decomposition makes that impossible.
Two more crew members were being questioned over the incident Tuesday, taking the total number being investigated to six.
The captain and two others have been charged with negligence and the South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Monday they had committed "unforgivable, murderous behavior."
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday that funerals were held for 11 high school students and a crew member killed in the disaster. Funerals for eight other students also took place in succession at five different hospitals in the region, Yonhap reported.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
First published April 22 2014, 2:25 AM
Bill Neely is NBC News chief global correspondent. He joined NBC News from Britainâ€™s ITV News in January 2014. Neely was ITV News international editor for 11 years. Over the course of 30 years in journalism, he has covered more than a dozen wars and conflicts from Northern Ireland to Syria, and has been embedded regularly with U.S. and British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union and he has reported more than a dozen natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami, and the deadly earthquakes in China, Haiti, and Pakistan. During his six years as ITV News Washington correspondent, which spanned the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clintonâ€™s first term, he covered key stories in the U.S. such as the Oklahoma City bombings, the Atlanta Olympics, and the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. He later closely followed the aftermath of 9/11 and, most recently, Superstorm Sandy.
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His reports from across the globe have earned many prestigious awards, including numerous Royal Television Society awards, an Emmy for coverage of the 2008 earthquake in China, and an unprecedented three consecutive BAFTA awards, the British equivalent of the Oscars, for his work in China, Haiti, and the U.K.