No headway in search for 11 missing in ferry disaster

JINDO, South Korea, July 4 (Yonhap) -- No progress has been made in an underwater search for those still missing in April's deadly ferry sinking for the past 10 days, officials said Friday.

A team of Navy, Coast Guard and civilian divers took shifts to search the submerged hull to find the 11 people, including five high school students, unaccounted for 79 days after the ship sank off the country's southwestern coast, according to officials of the government's disaster response team.

The team said it will adopt a new method to boost the search operation by analyzing chemical components of the seawater collected from different areas of the hull of the submerged ship.

The divers will then comb the areas where the remaining missing people are mostly likely to be, the officials said.

The official death toll stood at 293 as of Friday afternoon.

The team also said a task force will hold a meeting later in the day to discuss its search plan ahead of a rainy season that could further hamper the Herculean job.

The 6,825-ton ferry Sewol, carrying an estimated 476 people, sank in waters off Jindo en route to the southern resort island of Jeju from the country's western port city of Incheon. Most of them were high school students on a field trip.

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