Seoul, March 23 (IANS) South Korean officials on Thursday lifted a sunken passenger ferry which capsized in 2014 killing over 300 people.
According to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the ferry, Sewol, was brought 2.4 metres above the sea off Jindo Island, South Jeolla province where the ship capsized on April 16, 2014, Xinhua news agency reported.
The country's worst maritime disaster claimed the lives of 304 people, mostly high school students on a trip to the resort island of Jeju. Nine bodies are still unaccounted for.
The ferry was originally supposed to be raised 13 metres, but it has been delayed due to technical problems.
Divers had installed beams underneath the wreckage to link the beams to jacking wires. Two jack-up barges lifted the vessel, which was lain about 40 metres underneath the water.
If the ferry is reaches the targeted 13 meters above the surface, it will be moved to a semi-submersible barge that will carry it to a port in Mokpo, 90 km off Jindo Island.
The salvaging operation, which is being led by Shanghai Salvage, a Chinese company, started late Wednesday and should be done by Friday given favourable sea conditions.
The waters off the Jindo Island are famous for strong currents throughout the year.