UPDATED: South Korean ferry toll reaches 104

Jindo (South Korea) (IANS:) As 17 bodies were pulled out Tuesday morning out of the submerged vessel following overnight search operations, the toll in the accident reached 104.

Divers began conducting underwater search operations from around 6.30 a.m. local time.

So far, 104 people have been confirmed dead, with 198 still missing. The number of the rescued remained unchanged at 174, Xinhua reported.

Around 550 divers will be dispatched to search bodies and possible survivors inside the ship, while 212 ships and 34 airplanes will be deployed.

Climatic conditions are forecast to be favourable for search operations. Water temperature is at 13 degrees Celsius, and waves are 0.5 meter high. Tidal currents are 1.5 knots.

Divers began entering and searching inside the submerged vessel from Monday. It led to a surge in the toll. On Monday alone, 28 bodies were retrieved from the ferry.