South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Sunday told families of those missing in a sunken ferry that her heart breaks knowing what they are going through.

Ms. Park met with some 50 relatives in Paengmok port on Jindo, an island near where the ferry sank on April 16 with 476 people aboard, most of them students from a single high school. With eight bodies recovered on Sunday, the death toll reached 244 with 58 still missing while 174 survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members.

“I’ve gone through the grief of losing family, so I understand it well,” Ms. Park told relatives. She added, “My heart breaks to think about how you must feel.”

It was her second visit to the families of the ferry victims. She has previously apologised for the government’s inept initial response to the disaster, as families of the missing have repeatedly expressed fear about bodies being swept away.

After visiting the families, Ms. Park boarded a Coastguard vessel and arrived at the site where the ferry sank. Stepping on the barge, Ms. Park encouraged the divers, saying they were “the last hope” for the families.

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