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Despite Diver's Death, Search For Bodies Continues At Ferry

A 53-year-old volunteer diver searching the wreckage of the South Korean ferry Sewol died Tuesday after he lost consciousness underwater.
Posted at 8:56 AM, May 06, 2014

As if the scene of the South Korean ferry wreckage wasn't sad and somber enough, search crews are now mourning the loss of one of their own.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: "A diver has died while searching for bodies in the sunken ferry off South Korea. Officials say the diver had trouble with his oxygen supply some five minutes into his first dive. Other divers weren't able to resuscitate."

The man was 53 years old, and the BBC reports he went only by his surname of Lee. The outlet reports him as the first fatality among the hundreds of divers who've responded to help with the search efforts.

Wednesday will mark three weeks since the Sewol sank with 476 people on board as it sailed to the resort island of Jeju.

Since the massive ferry capsized with hundreds of high school students on board, more than 260 bodies have been recovered with dozens more missing. The presumed death toll is expected to reach more than 300. (Via Euronews)

The ferry's captain, crew and operator have come under intense scrutiny and even been charged with crimes as a result of the tragedy. Passengers were told to stay put instead of evacuate, even as the vessel listed severely. (Via The New York Times)

Arirang also reports investigators believe the ship was illegally renovated and overloaded with containers only secured with ropes. Shifting cargo could have caused the boat to list during a turn.

No one has been found alive since the day Sewol went down. As of Tuesday, divers have completed their search of 61 of the 64 ship compartments where they expected to find bodies. (Via Arirang)

CNN reports officials in Korea said the diver who died had been diving for 30 years.