Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Rescuers find 121 bodies from sunken ship, 181 still missing

Authorities Tuesday confirmed that the death toll in the South Korean ferry capsize is 121 as rescue divers continued their searches for more bodies from the sunken vessel in which over 180 passengers are still unaccounted for.

Rescuers were able to take advantage of better weather on Tuesday to retrieve 30 bodies from the wreck of the ferry Sewol off the southwest coast.

Officials said that 181 passengers still missing are presumed trapped inside the vessel and hopes of finding them alive have already diminished to zero.

The ferry tipped over and sank within two hours last Wednesday while it was carrying hundreds of high school students to a holiday destination. But it is not yet clear what caused the accident.

The crew has been criticised for allegedly failing to save passengers. Failure to deploy lifeboats is said to be one of a series of problems that beset those on board.

The CNN said a transcript of a radio conversation released by authorities over the weekend suggested that passengers on the ship couldn't reach lifeboats to escape because the ship tilted so quickly that it left many of them unable to move.

A crew member from the sunken ferry Tuesday said they slipped and were unable to reach life rafts as the ship rolled over and began to sink.

Crew members made attempts to get to the lifeboats, the crew member said. "But we slipped so we could not do that."

Five of the crew members have been charged with not fulfilling their duty to evacuate passengers safely, South Korean Yonhap news agency said.

At least six other crew members are reported to have been detained and face charges of dereliction of duty.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday condemned the conduct of some of the crew, calling it "akin to murder".

Meanwhile, the families of the missing have pleaded with rescue headquarters to wrap up the search operations by Wednesday or Thursday, when tidal waters are expected to become fierce again.

Earlier on Monday, families met with representatives from the government and military rescue teams to ask them to speed up search operations.

South Korean divers swam though dark, cold waters into a sunken ferry today, feeling for children's bodies with their hands in a maze of cabins, corridors and upturned decks. Also in this section

The divers, with oxygen and communications lines trailing, can only see a few inches in front of them in the wreckage of the ship that started sinking a week ago after a sharp turn. Most of the victims were high school children, who were told to stay where they were for their own safety and were trapped.

Most of the bodies found in the last two days had broken fingers, presumably from the children frantically trying to climb the walls or floors to escape in their last moments, media said.

"We are trained for hostile environments, but it's hard to be brave when we meet bodies in dark water," diver Hwang Dae-sik said, as the funerals of 25 students were held near the capital, Seoul.

Wednesday 23 April 2014


Post a Comment