JINDO, South Korea
- Divers continue the grim work of recovering bodies from inside a sunken South Korean ferry today, securing a new entryway into the wreck, as a newly released transcript showed the ship was crippled by confusion and indecision well after it began to sink.
The transcript suggests that the chaos may have added to a death toll that could eventually exceed 300.
Many people followed the captain's initial order to stay below deck, where it is feared they remain trapped. Sixty-four bodies have been recovered, and about 240 people are still missing. The ferry sank with 476 people on board, many of them students from a single high school.
After days of frustration because of strong currents, divers have now found several ways into the submerged ferry. That includes a new entryway, into the dining hall, made early this morning, Koh Myung-seok, a government spokesman, said. With divers increasingly making their way into the ship, there's been a big jump in the discovery of corpses.
As the divers worked, relatives huddled around signboards listing descriptions of a half dozen as-yet-unidentified bodies that were pulled out of the vessel overnight.
The bodies found early today were presumed to be students. Details provided a glimpse into their youthful lives. Many were fond of hoodies and track pants. One girl had red manicured fingernails and black toenail polish. Another wore braces.
According to the transcript released by South Korea's coast guard, about 30 minutes after the Sewol began to tilt a crew member asked a marine traffic controller whether passengers would be rescued if they abandoned ship off South Korea's southern coast. The crew member posed the question three times in succession.
That followed several statements from the ship that people aboard could not move and another in which someone said that it was "impossible to broadcast" instructions. Confusion and indecision took over from there.