Second diver dies on Sewol mission

Seoul - A South Korean diver died on Friday during efforts to cut a new access hole into a submerged ferry that sank last month with the loss of around 300 lives, the Coast Guard said.

The 46-year-old diver, identified only as Kim, was pulled from the water unconscious and bleeding from his face, a Coast Guard official said.

Mourners wear yellow ribbons for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster during a memorial service. File picture: Nam Y. Huh. Credit: Associated Press

He was later pronounced dead in hospital, but the precise cause of death was not immediately clear, the official said.

He was the second diver killed in the operation to retrieve hundreds of bodies from the 6 825-ton Sewol ferry, which sank on April 16 off the southern coast.

The Sewol was carrying 476 people - most of them schoolchildren.

No bodies have been recovered since May 21, leaving the confirmed death toll at 288, with 16 still unaccounted for.

Divers have had to battle strong currents and work in near-zero visibility.

Two dozen have been treated for injuries and decompression sickness. - AFP