Police say a high school vice principal who had been rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry has been found hanging from a tree.

A South Korean monk performs during the buddhist ceremony for missing passengers of a sunken ferry at Jindo port in Jindo-gun, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

A police officer says the vice principal, identified only by his surname Kang, was found dead on the island of Jindo where rescued passengers have taken shelter. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity citing department rules. He didn't elaborate.

The news of the death came Friday as rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of people still missing from the ferry and feared dead. The passengers included 325 second-year students from Danwon High School heading to a southern island on a four-day trip.

Three vessels with cranes have arrived at the scene of the sunken ferry to help with the rescue and salvage off the southern coast of South Korea.

But salvage operations haven't started yet because up to 270 people are still believed to be in the vessel, which rescuers have found it difficult to access because of the current and the weather.

Divers are pumping air into the ship in case anyone is still alive.

Officials say 475 people, mostly high school students, were on board when the ferry began listing Wednesday.

Twenty-eight people are confirmed dead.

The ferry sank Wednesday.

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