Divers searching the sunken Sewol ferry found the bodies of 48 girls inside a single cabin with a capacity of 30, officials announced today. They believe the passengers all rushed into the same room as the ship began to sink, CNN reports. Like most of the bodies found in the wreck, all the girls were wearing life vests—which may have actually hurt passengers' chances of escape. As the boat tilted, many exits would have been below them and/or underwater.
The confirmed death toll is now at 185, but it's expected to rise, with 117 still missing and little hope any survived. Divers are now attempting to reach a dorm-style cabin where they expect as many as 50 more girls may have perished. In related news:
- So far rescuers have been aided by favorable weather, but the coast guard has warned that a storm might hit the area this weekend, the AFP reports, and that currents are sure to strengthen.
- Prosecutors have officially identified three causes of the disaster: The sharper-than-expected turn that forced the ship to tilt; the recent addition of upper-deck cabins that hurt the ship's ability to right itself; and poorly-stowed cargo that shifted to the side and further helped drag the ship over, the New York Times reports.
- Investigators also took a look at the Sewol's sister ship, the Ohamana, and found a host of other security problems. Forty of its life rafts didn't work, nor did its emergency slides. Its equipment for tying down cargo containers is unreliable, and there is none to tie down cars. The Ohamana has been out of operation since the Sewol sank.