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Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry

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A weeping relative of a missing passenger aboard the sunken ferry Sewol struggles with a policeman as he tries to march toward the presidential house to protest the government’s rescue operation at a port in Jindo, South Korea, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Divers recovered more bodies from inside the ferry that sank off South Korea, pushing the confirmed death toll to over three dozen. The discovery came after rescuers finally gained access to the inside of the ship following three days of failure and frustration caused by strong currents and bad visibility due to inclement weather. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

A weeping relative of a missing passenger aboard the sunken ferry Sewol struggles with a policeman as he tries to march toward the presidential house to protest the government’s rescue operation at a port in Jindo, South Korea, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Divers recovered more bodies from inside the ferry that sank off South Korea, pushing the confirmed death toll to over three dozen. The discovery came after rescuers finally gained access to the inside of the ship following three days of failure and frustration caused by strong currents and bad visibility due to inclement weather. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Relatives of missing passengers aboard the sunken ferry Sewol struggle with policemen as they try to march toward the presidential house to protest the government’s rescue operation at a port in Jindo, South Korea, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Divers recovered more bodies from inside the ferry that sank off South Korea, pushing the confirmed death toll to over three dozen. The discovery came after rescuers finally gained access to the inside of the ship following three days of failure and frustration caused by strong currents and bad visibility due to inclement weather. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Lee Joon-seok, third from left, the captain of the ferry Sewol that sank off South Korea, and two crew members prepare to leave a court which issued their arrest warrant in Mokpo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 19, 2014. The captain of the sunken ferry, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a mate who a prosecutor said was steering in challenging waters unfamiliar to her when the accident occurred. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUT

South Korea Coast Guard boat carrying three bodies of passengers aboard the Sewol ferry which sank in the water off the southern coast, arrive at a port in Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 19, 2014. The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a rookie third mate who a prosecutor said was steering in challenging waters unfamiliar to her when the accident occurred. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Graphic shows a diagram of the vessel, South Korea.; 2c x 4 inches; 96.3 mm x 101 mm;

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MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers on Sunday finally found a way into a submerged ferry off South Korea’s southern shore, discovering more than a dozen bodies inside the ship and pushing the confirmed death toll to 49, officials said.

More than 250 people are still missing, most of them high school students on a holiday trip, and anguished families are furious with the pace of rescue efforts. Divers had previously failed to enter the ferry, officials said, because of extremely strong currents and bad visibility due to foul weather. They have yet to find any survivors in the ship.

The penetration by divers into the ferry follows the arrest of the captain on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a rookie third mate who a prosecutor said was steering in challenging waters unfamiliar to her when the accident occurred.

Beginning late Saturday, when divers broke a window, and continuing into Sunday, multiple teams of divers have found various routes into the ferry, discovering bodies in different spots, coast guard official Koh Myung-seok said at a briefing. Thirteen bodies had been found in the ship, and three others were found floating outside, said coast guard official Kim Jin-cheol.

Meanwhile, on an island near the submerged ferry, about 200 police in neon jackets blocked about 100 relatives of missing passengers who’d been walking on a main road in an effort, they said, to travel to the presidential Blue House in Seoul to voice their complaints to the president.

“The government is the killer,” they shouted as they pushed against a police barricade.

“We want an answer from the person in charge about why orders are not going through and nothing is being done,” Lee Woon-geun, father of missing passenger Lee Jung-in, 17, said. “They are clearly lying and kicking the responsibility to others.”

Relatives are desperate to retrieve bodies before they decompose beyond recognition, Lee said.

“After four or five days the body starts to decay. When it’s decayed, if you try to hold a hand it might fall off,” he said. “I miss my son. I’m really afraid I might not get to find his body.”

The ferry’s captain, Lee Joon-seok, 68, was arrested along with one of the Sewol’s three helmsmen and the 25-year-old third mate, prosecutors said.

Lee, speaking to reporters Saturday morning as he left the Mokpo Branch of Gwangju District Court to be jailed, defended his much-criticized decision to wait about 30 minutes before ordering an evacuation.

“At the time, the current was very strong, the temperature of the ocean water was cold, and I thought that if people left the ferry without (proper) judgment, if they were not wearing a life jacket, and even if they were, they would drift away and

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