South Korean rescue workers believe they have found the remains of one of the Sewol ferry disaster victims, who has been missing since the vessel sank in 2014.

The remains were found in the waters where the ferry's 6,825-tonne wreckage was raised last week, according to an official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The ministry source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said salvage workers had found "human remains suspected to be one of the missing victims" after the vessel was brought to the surface, almost three years after it went down with the deaths of 304 people.

Six fragments of bone, measuring from 4 to 18 centimetres, were recovered on the deck, according to Lee Cheol-Jo, a senior official in charge of the salvage operation. It is not clear whether the bone fragments were from an individual or several of the victims.

The bodies of 295 passengers were recovered in a rescue operation lasting seven months and costing more than $82m (£65m). The government ended underwater searches in November 2014. Nine victims were never found.

Earlier today (28 March) relatives of those still missing participated in a memorial service on a boat, praying that the bodies of their loved ones would be recovered.

"The ship has come up, but not the nine people inside it," Lee Geum-hee, whose daughter is still missing, told reporters. "Please don't forget there are people inside the dirty, rusty and smelly wreckage... Please do the best and let us bring them back home."

The ferry capsized while carrying 476 people, mostly secondary school students from Danwon High School (Ansan City).

South Korea ferry
South Korean ferry Sewol was raised out of the water on 23 March, almost three years after it sunk Reuters

The ferry's wreckage has been taken to the city of Mokpo where investigators will spend a month cleaning it and checking it for safety. After these checks have been carried out, they will start searching the ship for the remains of the other victims.