Searchers recover more bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) — Divers recovered five more bodies Wednesday from the wreck of the Sewol, the South Korean ferry that sank last month with hundreds of people on board.

The latest retrievals bring the number of people confirmed dead in the disaster to 281, the South Korean government said. A further 23 people remain missing, although hopes of finding any survivors have evaporated.

Most of the dead and missing are students, all from the same high school, who were taking the ferry to the South Korean resort island of Jeju for a field trip. It capsized and sank off the country’s southwestern coast on April 16.

The disaster caused widespread outrage in South Korea over lax safety standards and the failure to rescue more people as the ship foundered.

Crew members of the ship and staff of the company that operated it have been arrested and are facing criminal charges.

President Park Geun-hye has apologized over the government’s handling of the disaster and pledged to overhaul safety systems.

By K.J. Kwon and Jethro Mullen

CNN’s K.J. Kwon reported from Seoul, and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong.