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South Korea Ferry Disaster

Divers Spot Three Bodies in Sunken South Korean Ferry

Divers searching for survivors of a capsized South Korean ferry saw three bodies floating through a window of a passenger cabin on Saturday but were unable to retrieve them, the coastguard said, hours after the ship's captain was arrested.

The ferry, carrying 476 passengers, many of them schoolchildren, and crew, capsized on Wednesday on a journey from the port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju.

Some 174 people have been rescued and hopes were fading for those still missing.

The divers saw the bodies in a submerged cabin where many of the children were believed to be trapped, but were unable to break the glass to retrieve them.

No sounds have been detected from within the capsized hull, the coastguard told reporters.

The discovery comes amid stalled rescue efforts due to strong tides as hundreds of navy, coastguard and private divers scour the site, 15 miles off the southwest coast of South Korea.

South Korea Ferry Captain Arrested 3:01

Investigations into the sinking, South Korea's worst maritime accident in 21 years based on possible casualties, have centered on crew negligence, problems with cargo stowage and structural defects of the vessel, although the ship appears to have passed all of its safety and insurance checks.

The ship's 69-year-old captain was arrested early Saturday, Yonhap news agency said, after coming under scrutiny over witness reports that he was among the first to escape the sinking vessel during its 300-mile voyage to Jeju.

According to investigators, Capt. Lee Joon-seok was not on the bridge at the time the ferry, the Sewol, started to list sharply, with a junior officer at the wheel.

Yonhap said Lee faced five charges including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law. Arrest warrants were also issued for the junior officer and one other crew member for failing in their duty to aid passengers.

— Reuters