South Korea Ferry Disaster: Diver Dies In Search Effort

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South Korea Ferry Rescue_Sewol
South Korean rescue workers operate near floats where the capsized passenger ship Sewol sank, during the search and rescue operation as a giant offshore crane, which will take part in the rescue operation, is seen in the background in the sea off Jindo on April 21, 2014.

A diver searching for the bodies of missing passengers on the South Korean ferry died Tuesday morning after falling unconscious during a mission, officials said.

The diver, identified as a 53-year-old man surnamed Lee, was brought to a hospital in Mokpo, a southwestern port city near the sinking site, around 7:12 a.m., but was pronounced dead soon after, reports the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Lee, who worked for Undine Marine Industries, lost contact five minutes after diving into water around 25 meters deep at 6:05 a.m.

Undine Marine Industries is a private business specializing in offshore and subsea engineering as well as maritime rescue and salvage work, Yonhap says.

Local Coast Guard officials said they have suspended all search efforts following the accident.

On Monday, the government said the death toll in the ferry disaster had reached to 260, with 42 people still missing, CNN reported.

The higher death toll comes after 11 more bodies were retrieved from the fourth deck of the Sewol ferry, according to South Korea's Government Rescue Headquarters.

On Sunday, President Park Geun-hye visited the port where the rescue operation is based, to console families and encourage divers.

 

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