The South Korean government Tuesday announced its decision to end the seven-month-long search operation for those missing during April's ferry disaster. The sinking of the ferry claimed more than 300 lives.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Lee Ju-young made the announcement after holding a meeting with Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, Xinhua reported.
More than two-thirds of the families of those still missing voted in favour of ending the search operation, in response to which the government finally decided to conclude it.
Coast guard, military and civilian divers have conducted search operations since April 16 when the 6,825-tonne ferry "Sewol" sank off the south-western cost of South Korea.
Nine remain missing, with 295 people confirmed dead.
The body of one female student was recovered Oct 28, 102 days after a body was found July 18.
Conditions have become difficult to continue the underwater search as the winter season is fast approaching, officials said.
The water temperature is much lower, and the ferry has sunk more than 40 metres deep, they added. (IANS)