South Korea ferry: Bad weather hinders search

2014-04-28 10:01
South Korean Navy vessels are berthed at an MSB (Movement Sea Base) off the South Korea-controlled island of Yeonpyeong near the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea. (AFP)

South Korean Navy vessels are berthed at an MSB (Movement Sea Base) off the South Korea-controlled island of Yeonpyeong near the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • South Korea
    Accessible yet packed with information, South Korea will appeal to geography students and casual... Now R567.00
    buy now
Jindo - Divers on Monday renewed their search for more than 100 bodies still trapped in a sunken ferry after weekend efforts were hindered by bad weather, strong currents and floating debris clogging the ship's rooms. Officials said they have narrowed down the likely locations in the ship of most of the remaining missing passengers.

Divers found only one body Sunday after a week that saw an increasing number of corpses pulled from the ship as divers made their way through its labyrinth of cabins, lounges and halls.

The number of dead from the April 16 sinking is 188, with 114 people believed missing, though a government emergency task force has said the ship's passengers list could be inaccurate. Only 174 people survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members.

Senior coast guard officer Kim Su-hyeon said that most of the remaining missing passengers are believed to be in 64 of the ship's 111 rooms.

Divers have entered 36 of those 64 rooms, coast guard officers said, but may need to go back into some because floating debris made it difficult for divers to be sure that there are no more dead bodies.

Government making plans

Ko Myung-seok, an official with the emergency task force, said on Monday that 92 divers would search the ferry. He also said that the government was making plans to salvage the ferry once search efforts end but that details wouldn't be available until officials talk with families of the victims.

On Sunday, South Korea's prime minister resigned over the government's handling of the sinking, blaming "deep-rooted evils" in society for the tragedy.

South Korean executive power is largely concentrated in the president, so Chung Hong-won's resignation appears to be symbolic. Presidential spokesperson Min Kyung-wook said President Park Geun-hye would accept the resignation, but did not say when Chung would leave office.

Chung's resignation comes amid rising indignation over claims by the victims' relatives that the government did not do enough to rescue or protect their loved ones. Most of the dead and missing were high school students on a school trip.

Officials have taken into custody all 15 people involved in navigating the ferry Sewol, which sank April 16. The seven surviving crew members who have not been arrested or detained held non-marine jobs such as chef or steward, according to senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin.

The arrested crew members are accused of negligence and of failing to help passengers in need. Captain Lee Joon-seok initially told passengers to stay in their rooms and took half an hour to issue an evacuation order, by which time the ship was tilting too severely for many people to get out.

Passenger safety

Lee told reporters after his arrest that he withheld the evacuation order because rescuers had yet to arrive and he feared for passengers' safety in the cold, swift water.

In video released on Monday by the Coast Guard, the captain, Lee Joon-seok, wearing only a sweater and underpants is shown leaping from the sinking ferry, which is tilted about 45 degrees, onto a rescue boat. According to Kim Kyung-il, a coast guard official, the ship's crew members did not tell rescuers that they were crew members.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it would soon change its ferry monitoring systems so that passenger, vehicle and cargo information is processed electronically. There is not only uncertainty about how many people were on the Sewol, but a huge discrepancy regarding the amount of cargo it was carrying when it sank.

Heavy load

The ferry was carrying an estimated 3 608 tons of cargo, according to an executive of the company that loaded it. That far exceeds what the captain claimed in paperwork - 150 cars and 657 tons of other cargo, according to the coast guard - and is more than three times what an inspector who examined the vessel during a redesign last year said it could safely carry.

Yang, the prosecutor, said that the cause of the sinking could be due to excessive veering, improper stowage of cargo, modifications made to the ship and tidal influence. He said investigators would determine the cause by consulting with experts and using simulations.

Yang said that a crew member called the ship's owner, Chonghaejin Marine Co Ltd, as the ferry was listing, but declined to disclose whether the caller was the captain. Local media reported that the captain called for company approval of an evacuation. Prosecutors said they are analysing the content of communications between the ship and the company.

Students from Danwon High School in Ansan, a city near Seoul, make up more than 80% of the dead and missing; they had been on their way to the southern tourist island of Jeju.
- AP
Read more on:    south korea  |  ferry disaster
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

7 tips for the ultimate family camping trip

Taking the kids on a camping trip can be one of the most memorable holidays they will ever have!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

BASE jump off the world’s tallest building!
Stand up paddler rides over shark!
Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.