A civilian diver working to find missing people in the South Korean ferry disaster has died. The diver died at an area hospital after becoming unconscious during the search. His is the first death in the rescue divers called into the area after the ferry’s sinking to help and retrieve bodies.
The diver, 53, was pulled to the surface of the water by other divers after they lost communications with him five minutes earlier. The ferry, the Sewol was carrying 476 people when it sank off the southern coast of South Korea. The majority of the passengers were students at a high school near Seoul.
The ferry sank on April 16th and only 174 survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members. The disaster has left over 260 people dead and approximately 40 more people are missing.
The search of the sunken ferry has been difficult due to darkness, floating debris and a maze of corridors and cabins onboard. On Monday night, divers entered the last three areas of the ferry that had yet to be opened.
Investigators have arrested three people over the weekend. They are suspected of negligence in their handling of cargo on the vessel. Over the course of the weekend, 19 people have been arrested, 15 were crew members accused of abandoning passengers.
One suspected reason for the ferry sinking is improper stowage and overloading of cargo. At the time the ferry sank it was carrying an estimated 3,608 tons of cargo which is more than three times what it could safely carry.
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