A ferry that sank three years ago killing more than 300 people has been raised from the sea.
The passenger ferry Sewol was lifted from the water off Jindo Island, South Korea, in a huge salvage operation.
The 6,800-tonne vessel sank on April 16, 2014, killing 304 people, most of them students on a school trip.
The disaster caused an outpouring of national grief and public outrage at the tragedy eventually led to the ousting of Park Geun-hye as president.
On Friday, divers cuts off a dangling vehicle ramp, allowing salvage teams to raise the ferry to a height where it could be loaded on to a semi-submersible transport vessel and taken to a port.
Workers raised the Sewol until its upper side was about 13m above the water’s surface so they could load it on to the transport vessel about 3km away.
The waters where the ferry sank are notorious for dangerous currents.
Workers on two barges began the salvage operation on Wednesday night, rolling up 66 cables connected to a metal frame that divers spent months placing beneath the ferry.
The bodies of 295 passengers were recovered after the sinking, but nine are still missing.
Relatives, some of whom were watching from two fishing boats just outside the operation area, hope those remains will be found inside the ferry. Some cried as they watched the emerging wreckage with telescopes.
‘I shouted in joy when we heard that the ship surfaced at dawn. I thought we finally can find the missing nine,’ said Lee Geum-hee, the mother of a missing school girl.
‘But when I actually saw the ship coming up, I was devastated. All this time my poor child was in that cold, dirty place. It was heart wrenching.’
It will take about two weeks to transport the vessel to a port 90km away in the city of Mokpo.
Workers will then begin clearing mud and debris and search for the remains of the missing victims.
The ferry’s captain is serving a life sentence after a court found him guilty of committing homicide through wilful negligence because he fled the ship without issuing an evacuation order.
Ousted president Park was forced to defend herself against accusations she was out of contact for several hours on the day of the sinking.
She was formally removed from office by the constitutional court earlier this month. She is now under criminal investigation, accused of conspiring with a confidante to extort money and favours from companies and allow the friend to secretly interfere with state affairs.