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ANSAN, South Korea - A vice principal who was rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry was found hanging from a tree on Friday as loved ones gathered at his school to post messages for hundreds of students missing in the disaster.

"The deputy head of this school saved himself on the ship but not his students," a distraught woman at Danwon High School told NBC News. "No-one from this school is going to the hospital or the rescue area. Why not? Why aren't you doing anything?"

The passengers of the ferry that capsized on Wednesday included 325 students from the high school who had heading to a southern island on a four-day field trip.

Messages left by fellow students are stuck to the classroom windows of students missing in the South Korean ferry disaster at Danwon High School in Ansan on Friday.STAFF / Reuters

Students, some wearing their brown and cream uniforms, wept and posted emotional messages of condolence in the hallway, doors and windows near the classrooms of missing students, which were locked.

One yellow ribbon was tied around a soccer goalpost at the front of the school.

A police officer said the vice principal, Kang Min-gyu, had been missing since Thursday and appeared to have hanged himself with his belt from a tree outside a gym where relatives of the people missing on the ship were gathered.

Police said Kang, 52, did not leave a suicide note and that they started looking for him after he was reported missing.

The announcement of the death was greeted with shock by those at the school.

Officials have confirmed 28 deaths in the ferry disaster. But that number is expected to rise sharply. About 270 people are missing. Ten students and three teachers from Danwon have been confirmed dead.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.