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Diver Dies While Searching Sunken South Korean Ferry

JINDO-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 17: South Korean Coast Guard and rescue teams search for missing passengers at the site of the sunken ferry off the coast of Jindo Island on April 17, 2014 in Jindo-gun, South Korea. At least six people are reported dead, with 290 still missing. The ferry identified as the Sewol was carrying about 470 passengers, including students and teachers, traveling to Jeju Island. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Three weeks after a ferry carrying 476 people sank off the coast of South Korea, the disaster led to another death on Tuesday morning. A civilian diver on his first mission into the sunken ferry died after losing consciousness underwater, according to officials overseeing the recovery effort. Lee Gwang-ok, 53, lost radio contact five minutes after heading into the ferry to install guideline ropes, which divers use to navigate the maze of cabins as they search for victims. Lee wasn’t breathing when he was pulled to the surface by other divers, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Lee is the second person to die during recovery efforts. A sailor in the South Korean navy died last month of a head injury sustained inside a destroyer aiding in the search. Not counting the two recovery workers, the confirmed death toll is now 263, with 39 people still missing. 

Diver Dies While Searching South Korean Ferry