Workers expect to complete their search for victims in the wreck of the ferry Sewol in late June before investigators try to determine the exact reason why the ship sank off the southwest coast in April 2014.
The search for passengers who remain officially missing has been going on since April 19, mostly in cabins on the fourth floor, where Danwon High School students were staying, and on the third floor, which accommodated other passengers.
Search work on the fourth floor was almost complete. It yielded the remains of two missing Danwon students, Cho Eun-hwa and Huh Da-yoon, and DNA tests are underway to identify the remains presumed to be of an adult passenger named Lee Young-sook, who was not part of the ill-fated school trip.
The underwater search for victims has already come to an end. It yielded a bone fragment from Ko Chang-seok, a teacher at the school.
Officials are still recruiting staff who will try to determine the cause of the sinking. They plan to hire 35.
Once fully-staffed, they will have 10 months and will look at every aspect of the tragedy. Last Friday, Kim Chang-joon, who will head the investigation, said, "We're also going to probe why the ferry's passenger and cargo spaces were expanded beyond capacity in the first place."
British marine surveyors Brookes Bell will inspect the ferry's hull.
Of 87 mobile phones retrieved from the wreck so far, 15 have been sent to a private company to retrieve text messages and other data that can shed light on the tragedy.