A girl holds a candle during a rally to pay tribute to the victims and missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol, in Ansan, South Korea, May 9, 2014.
Ahn Young-joon—AP
May 10, 2014 10:46 AM EDT

The search for the missing passengers from the South Korean ferry disaster was put on hold Saturday as bad weather and the vessel’s deteriorating condition have hampered recovery efforts.

More than 270 bodies have already been recovered more than three weeks after the catastrophe, but 29 passengers remain missing, the Associated Press reports. Most of the passengers on the ferry were high school students from a town south of Seoul.

Strong currents, bad weather and floating debris have made the search difficult. Internal partitions in the ferry have started to reshape as they become waterlogged, preventing divers from entering some parts of the ferry. One civilian diver died Tuesday while assisting in the search.

Authorities have arrested all 15 surviving crew members involved in the ferry’s navigation for alleged negligence and failing to protect passengers. 172 passengers survived the incident.


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