The raising of the Sewol ferry off South Korea's Jindo island has begun more than two years after it sank, killing 304 people, most of them school children, reported Agence France-Presse
Salvage operators raised the bow of the ferry about four meters on Sunday, according to KBS World Radio,
and operators hope to raise the sunken ferry by 10 meters by Wednesday so that 18 lifting beams could be installed.
"Given that the process was regarded to be extremely difficult, Sunday's work was observed by family members of missing passengers, bereaved family members and members of a special committee on probing the sinking of the ferry," wrote KBS World Radio.
The raising of the 6,825-ton ferry, which is being led a Chinese consortium spearheaded by the Shanghai Salvage Co., is expected to cost $72 million, said AFP. The ferry carried 476 people when is sank in April 2014.
Nine bodies have never been recovered and some family members of victims have demanded that the ferry be brought to the surface, wrote AFP.
The ferry is in 130 feet of water off Jindo, according to the BBC News
"The disaster was one of the worst maritime disasters in South Korea in decades, and triggered widespread mourning," wrote the BBC News. "In April last year, South Korean President Park Geun-hye promised that the vessel would be raised at the earliest opportunity. The disaster was blamed on a combination of illegal redesigns, the overloading of cargo, the inexperience of the crew member steering the vessel, and lax government regulations."
KBS World Radio said once the bow-lifting operation is done, the country's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries plans to lift the body of the ship, put it on a floating dock, and then transport it port.
Last year, the captain of the Sewol ferry was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
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