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Poor weather threatens search for missing 287 from Korean ferry

Adverse weather conditions, strong currents and murky water are increasingly hampering the search for 287 missing passengers following the Wednesday sinking of a South Korean ferry Sewol.

Coast guard, naval vessels, aircraft and commercial ships have so far been involved in the search. Reports indicate that 179 of the 475 passengers have been rescued, with many severely injured. So far, nine deaths have been confirmed.

Although over 500 divers have been involved in the search, adverse winds and currents are threaten to make further diving impossible, with three so far swept away and picked up by fishing boat according to one BBC report.

The 6,825 tonne ferry had sailed out of the western port of Incheon on Tuesday evening, but began listing uncontrollably for as-yet-undetermined reasons some 20 km off the island of Byungpoong and sent out a distress signal before flipping over.

Although nautical charts of the wider area show reefs and shallow waters, one government official appeared to discount the possibility the ship had hit a rock.

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