Suspected human bones were recovered Wednesday (May 10) from South Korea's sunken Sewol ferry, officials said. This latest announcement is the first time when suspected human bones had been found inside the wreck.
Three years ago, the 6,800-tonne vessel sank off the country's southwestern coast killing more than 300 people, mostly high school students on an excursion.
It was one of the worst-ever maritime disasters of South Korea. It dealt a crushing blow to now-ousted president Park Geun-Hye. Reports said nine of the victims' bodies have yet to be recovered.
The maritime ministry said that two bones were retrieved on Wednesday from a passenger cabin on the fourth floor of the ship. The families of the victims demanded raising the bodies in one piece. Since then, the workers have been painstakingly sifting through the silt piled up inside the hull.
The ministry cited forensic experts on the scene and said that they were apparently human. Those had been sent to the National Forensic Service for DNA tests.
Last week, a diver combing the sea bed where the ferry had been lying found a bone fragment believed to be from a human shin.
In March, the ministry announced that human bone fragments had been found under the hull of the ship. However, the DNA tests confirmed they were from pigs leading to the ministry's embarrassment.
The investigations revealed that numerous human factors, including an illegal redesign, an overloaded cargo bay and inexperienced crew, was the cause of the disaster.