A solemn crowd of relatives of some of the 304 people, mostly schoolchildren, who died in a ferry sinking gathered at a small South Korean port Wednesday on the eve of the anniversary of one of the country's deadliest disasters.

Under hazy skies, the group in yellow windbreakers left Paengmok on ships to visit the site of the sinking off the southwestern coast. Many wept, often inconsolably, as they tossed white flowers into the water in honor of their loved ones. Some had shaved their heads as symbols of their grief and rage at the deaths.

Earlier, hundreds of relatives and their supporters attended a memorial service at the port, where they called for a new investigation into the cause of the sinking, which state prosecutors have blamed on overloaded and poorly secured cargo and a botched rescue effort.

Scores have been arrested, but many family members want a more thorough investigation because they believe higher-level officials have not been held accountable.