One by one, Coastguard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of Jindo island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

Dozens of police officers in neon green jackets formed a cordon around the dock as the bodies arrived on Tuesday. Since divers found a way over the weekend to enter the submerged ferry, the death count has shot up. Officials said on Tuesday that confirmed fatalities had reached 104, with nearly 200 people still missing.

If a body lacks identification, details such as height, hair length and clothing are posted on a white signboard for families waiting on Jindo island for news.

The bodies are then driven in ambulances to two tents - one for men and boys, the other for women and girls. Families listen quietly outside as an official briefs them, then line up and file in. Only relatives are allowed inside.

For a brief moment there is silence. Then the anguished cries, the wailing, the howling. They have not known for nearly a week whether they should grieve or not, and now they sound like they’re being torn apart.

“How do I live without you? How will your mother live without you?” a woman cries out.

About 250 of the more than 300 missing or dead are students from a single high school, in Ansan near Seoul, who were on their way to the southern tourist island of Jeju.

The captain, Lee Joon-seok, and two crew members have been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Prosecutors detained six other crew members - four on Monday and two on Tuesday.

In Ansan, funerals were held for more than 10 of the teens Tuesday, and education officials were building a temporary memorial that they expected to complete by Wednesday.

At a Cabinet briefing on Monday, President Park Geun-hye said, “What the captain and part of the crew did is unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense. Unforgivable, murderous behaviour.”

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