The 46-year-old diver, identified as "Lee," died Friday from what doctors suspect was tension pneumothorax, which occurs when air builds in the chest, forcing pressure on the lungs and the heart that can push the heart to the other side of the chest.
At an emergency press briefing Friday, government disaster response team spokesman Ko Myeong-seok provided some background on the sequence of events. "Lee entered the water at around 1:50 p.m. to cut open the stern of the hull from the fourth deck, but as the operations drew to a close around 2:20 p.m., a problem arose with the sound of crashing ..."
Lee was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The chief neurosurgeon at Mokpo Hankook Hospital, Park In-ho, said that X-ray and CT scans showed trauma to Lee's lungs.
A civilian diver and a South Korean Navy serviceman also died during the Sewol search and recovery operation.
The five-story ferry was carrying 476 people when it capsized on April 16, and 174 passengers were rescued, including the captain and most of the crew.