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Old 17-04-14, 10:28   #1
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South Korean Coast Guard members search for survivors from the Sewol, a South Korean ferry, as it sinks in the Yellow Sea on Wednesday, April 16. It's not yet known what caused the incident.

Rescue crews attempt to save passengers from the ferry.

Updated 5:38 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014

Jindo, South Korea (CNN) -- There were 46 lifeboats attached to the South Korean ferry that sank in frigid waters -- but only one lifeboat was deployed, CNN affiliate YTN reported Thursday.

CNN has not been able to independently confirm the report. But if true, it will fuel the anger of families still waiting to hear the fate of 287 passengers still missing at sea.

Video acquired by affiliate JTBC showed at least 12 of the white survival capsules still attached to the ferry, even as it was keeled over in the water. The survival capsules hold the lifeboats.

More than 24 hours have passed since the 6,800-ton ferry sank Wednesday morning.

Nine people are dead. At least 179 have been rescued.

But no one knows whether the missing 287 are alive, perhaps on the ship, or if they succumbed to the water about 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit.)

The captain of the ferry broke down in tears when asked if he had anything to say to the missing passengers' families.

"I am sorry, I am at a loss for words," captain Lee Joon Suk said. He sat at a coast guard station with his head and face covered, facing possible charges of negligence and accidental homicide.

How did this happen?

No one knows exactly why the ship sank.

Some analysts said the five-story ferry might have veered off course -- speculation that South Korean Oceans and Fisheries Ministry quashed Thursday.

The agency had approved the ferry's intended route, and "there was no huge difference between their plan and the actual track chart," spokesman Nam Jae Heon said.

At one point or another, the massive rescue efforts has included 169 boats, 29 planes and 512 divers. Crews were trying to move a crane to stabilize the ship.

But relentless rain, whipping winds and thick fog stymied rescue efforts Thursday. Three of the 22 volunteer divers who joined the search went missing in high tide but were later found, YTN said.

South Korean President Park Guen-hye visited families at the scene and pushed rescue workers to press on.

"Since there is the possibility of survivors, we cannot waste any time," she said.

Anguish and impatience

At the Peng Mok Harbor in Jindo, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the site of the accident, family members spend the hours staring at the water.

They have camped out here since Wednesday. Mothers and grandmothers huddle together, crying and comforting each other.

Chang Min, whose second-grade son is missing, said he was furious that search officials are using the word "investigation" and not the word "rescue."

"If the government cares for the people, our family, our children, please rescue our families and our children," he said.

He, like many others, are angry at the pace of the process.

But at least one parent blamed herself.

Christine Kim's daughter didn't want to go on her school's field trip to the resort island of Jeju. After all, she had just visited the island two months ago.

But Kim urged her to go. "I told her, 'I think this trip will be (a) very great experience for you,'" the mother said.

Now, she's wracked with guilt as she waits at the dreary harbor. She's been sitting in the cold rain for more than a day.

"How can I sleep when my daughter is in the cold ocean?"

The hope for survivors largely hinges on whether trapped passengers are in isolated pockets of air on the ship.

"From the images that I've seen, there's clearly some areas of the hull that are above the water, that are not flooded," Mike Dean, the U.S. Navy deputy director for salvage and diving, told "CNN Tonight."

"So absolutely, there could be areas in there where there is breathable air, but the trouble right now is the temperature and getting people to them."

Most of the bedrooms of the 353 passengers were on the fourth level of the five-floor boat.

Passengers faced a terrifying choice as the vessel rolled: obey commands barked over loudspeakers to stay in place, or don life vests and jump into the chilly ocean water.

"Don't move," a voice warned, according to a recording obtained by CNN affiliate YTN. "If you move, it's dangerous. Don't move."

That announcement, some witnesses worried, may have cost some passengers on the ferry their lives.

"We were told to stay where you are, so we kept staying," survivor Hyun Hung Chang told YTN. "But later on, the water level came up. So we were beside ourselves. Kids were screaming out of terror, shouting for help."

"Kids were forced to stay put," another survivor told YTN. "So only some of those who moved survived."

'Please come back'

Many of the passengers aboard the ship were students of Ansan Danwon High School on a four-day trip to the island of Jeju.

At the school in the suburb of Seoul, parents sat on mats, clutching their cell phones for calls or texts from their children.

Local media reported on several text messages they said were from passengers. In one, a passenger describes women screaming in the darkness. In another, a father learns his child is trapped. In a third, a son, fearing death, tells his mother he loves her.

CNN could not independently confirm the authenticity of the messages or when they were sent. It's also unclear what happened to the people who sent them.

The panicked messages were reason enough for some parents to believe more survivors will be found.

On one wall of the school, officials have posted a list of names. Once a confirmation of a rescue came, they circled that name. On Wednesday, soon after the ship sank, several names were circled in rapid succession.

So many, however, remain untouched.

At one point Wednesday, the school announced that all students had been rescued but soon backtracked, to the parents' wrath.

Even though the school was closed Thursday, students and teachers arrived to seek comfort in numbers.

"Please be alive," said messages written in classroom chalkboards. "Please come back."

On Thursday, several parents took a boat to try to go the accident site. The boat turned back after several of them became so distraught that they fainted.

The five-story passenger ferry, Sewol, was carrying 475 passengers -- most of them students -- as it left from the port city of Incheon, just west of Seoul, for a trip to Jeju, the resort island considered the Hawaii of Korea.

Foggy weather had delayed the departure by about two hours.

Just before 9 a.m. Wednesday (8 p.m. Tuesday ET), about 12 miles from the island of Jindo, the ship ran into trouble.

Passenger Kim Sung-Mook told YTN he was eating breakfast in the ship's main hall when he felt the ferry begin to tilt.

Someone made the announcement telling passengers to stay in place. Then, Kim said, he heard a loud bang.

Student Lim Hyung Min, who was rescued, told YTN he heard the bang before the ship began to list.

"The students were falling over and crashing into things and bleeding," Lim said.

Ret. Capt. Jim Staples told "AC 360" that the ship's captain may have increased speed to remain on schedule.

Mary Schiavo, former inspector general for the Department of Transportation, thinks the ship could have hit something.

The ship's operator, Chonghaejin Marine Corp., had no explanation -- only apologies.

"We deeply apologize to the families, and I'm saying once again we're really sorry," Chonghaejin executive Kim Young-bung said.

"Our company will promise that we will do our best not to lose any more lives."

The president of the company tried to venture out to the sunken ferry, but was hospitalized after collapsing from shock on the way to the scene.
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Old 18-04-14, 17:54   #2
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Pictured: The Moment Captain Abandoned South Korean Ferry -Leaving Behind Hundreds to Drown
Arrest warrant issued
  • Lee Joon-seok, 68, dangled from a rope as rescuers helped him leave ferry
  • He escaped the vessel, which was carrying 475 passengers when it capsized
  • Lee was carried to safety on Wednesday - but 270 are still missing
By Daily Mail UK, 18 April 2014

Lee Joon-seok, 68, (circled center) was pictured dangling from a rope as rescuers carried him to safety.
Around 270 of his passengers are still missing - and 28 are dead - in the wake of the disaster.

The ferry he was captaining was carrying 475 people in South Korea when it capsized after a sharp turn. A warrant was issued for his arrest (right) by a Korean court today. It has since been alleged that he was not even at the helm of the ship during the fatal accident - and that his third-in-command was steering.

The captain of the South Korean ferry which capsized on Wednesday has been arrested after he was pictured abandoning ship in a disaster which has left at least 28 passengers dead and hundreds missing.
Lee Joon-seok, 68, was in charge of the ferry, which was carrying 475 passengers when it turned sharply and later sank. There have been 28 confirmed deaths in the wake of the disaster, while some 270 remain missing.

However, as a damning new photograph shows, Lee was among the first to leave the ship. He can be seen dangling from a rope as he is helped onto a rescue boat while the ferry is still above water.

Scroll Down for Video

Lifted to safety: Lee Joon-seok, top right, is shown being lowered from the ****pit as he escapes the sinking ship. More than 475 people were on board

Arrest: Lee Joon-seok, centre, was pictured today being led towards a court in Mokpo, south of Seoul

Search: Rescuers, pictured today, were still searching for victims in the sea,
where an inflatable buoy marks the position of the wreckage

"I am really sorry and deeply ashamed": Captain of Sunken Ferry

Prosecutors today confirmed they had asked a South Korean court for his arrest, along with that of two other crew members.
He was later pictured being restrained outside a court in Mokpo, south of Seoul.

It has since been claimed that he was not actually steering the ship during the disaster, having left the job to his third-in-command.

According to Korean prosecutor Park Jae-Eok, there is a chance that Lee wasn't in control of the vessel at that point.
He said:

'He may have been off the bridge... and the person at the helm at the time was the third officer... The captain was not in command when the accident took place.'
The new claims came as the vice principal who had responsibility for hundreds of school children who died or went missing in a tragic South Korean ferry accident was found hanged in front of victims' families.

Dusk: Flares were lit as divers were still taking to the sea as dusk fell today off near where the ferry went under

Hunt: Some 270 people are still missing two days after the accident

Meanwhile, the vice-principal of the high school whose pupils died has committed suicide by hanging himself outside a large gym where families of the victims were staying.
Police said that Kang Min-gyu, 52, had been missing since Thursday and appeared to have hung himself

Out of 475 passengers and crew on the ship, about 340 were students and teachers from the Danwon High School in Ansan, an industrial town near Seoul, who were on an outing to the resort island of Jeju.
They account for about 250 of those missing.

The ferry was carrying 475 passengers when it capsized on a short journey between Icheon and Jeju on Wednesday. Around 28 people have been confirmed dead, while some 270 are yet to be accounted for.
Kang taught at the Danwon High School in Ansan, near Seoul. Around 340 of the ferry passengers were students or teachers from his school, and make up the vast majority of those still missing.
Police said he went missing yesterday before being found.

Hanged: Kang Min-gyu was found dangling from a tree in Jindo

Read More on That Story:

Prayers: A relative weeps in Jindo, South Korea, as she waits for news of the lost passengers

Solemn: Buddhist monks were seen praying today for the safe return of those still missing

Compassion: Students hold up messages for the schoolchildren, aged 16 and 17, who made up the majroity of the lost passengers

The new claims come the day after the human scale of the tragedy was made clear by the story of a six-year-old girl who was rescued - but is still waiting for news of her parents and brother, who are among the missing.
After being rescued, the distraught girl was taken to hospital in Mokpo, near the coastal city of Jindo, where she was treated.

Despite ongoing rescue efforts, on Thursday the South Korean coast guard did not confirm if the young girl's parents and brother were dead or alive.
The young girl and her family were travelling to the Island to look for a new home, Korea Joongang Daily reported

Survivor Yu Ho-sil helped rescue Kwon and said:

'Somebody shouted at me from the back to take the baby and other students passed the baby outside.'
Once rescued, Kwon was able to tell authorities the names of her family members, but was unable to recall her address.

Lucky to be alive: Kwon Ji-yeon, 6, was pulled from the ferry on Wednesday

Six year old's parents and brother missing after South Korea...

In shock: The young girl, highlighted, became separated from her parents and brother, when she was passed on to rescuers

After being rescued, the distraught girl was taken to hospital in Mokpo, near the coastal city of Jindo, where she was treated.
Despite ongoing rescue efforts, on Thursday the South Korean coast guard did not confirm if the young girl's parents and brother were dead or alive.

A medical assessment determined Kwon, pictured in hospital, was in shock but had not not suffered any severe external injuries

It has been reported that Kwon told medical staff her mother and brother gave her a life jacket before passing her up to the rescue boats.
The hospital worked with authorities and rescue teams to find Kwon's other relatives by using her photo online.
After a web post of her image went viral, the young girl's aunt and grandmother identified her and made their way to the hospital.

After a medical assessed, it was determined that Kwon was in shock as a result of the accident and the unfamiliar environment.

Despite being treated in a separate room to help calm her, hospital director Ryu Jae-kwang said Kwon had not suffered any severe external injuries.

With 271 people still missing, it is feared the death toll of 28 will rise in coming days

Jo Yo-sep, an eight-year-old boy from a different family, was also pulled from the boat and separated from his family.
The young boy was trying to find his family as the ship was sinking but was picked up by 55-year-old passenger Kim Byung-kyu, who found the child after he fell on the floor when the boat fell on its side.

On Thursday, rescue teams made up of navy divers and the coast guard were diving into the waters where the ferry sunk, searching for those still missing.

The incident happened about 12 miles off the country's south western coast and also on Thursday, a man reported to be the ferry's captain, declared on Korean TV that he was 'sorry and deeply ashamed.'

Yonhap news agency and Broadcaster YTN identified the man, who appeared with his face covered with a grey hooded top, as the captain.
'I am really sorry and deeply ashamed,' he said after being questioned at the Mokpo Coast Guard Office.

In the brief videotaped appearance, he added: 'I don't know what to say.'
Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, now faces a criminal investigation for his part in the tragedy.

Most the people on board were made up of students and teachers from a South Korean school.

Fresh questions have been asked about whether quicker action by the captain of the doomed ferry could have saved lives.
On Friday, rescuers continued the search to find the hundreds of passengers still missing and feared dead.
Officials also offered a rare look at their investigations, saying they were looking into whether a crewman's order to abruptly turn the ship contributed to the 6,852-ton Sewol ferry tilting severely to the side and filling with water Wednesday.
The confirmed death toll from Wednesday's sinking off southern South Korea was 28, the coast guard said.

Most of bodies have been found floating in the ocean because divers have been continually prevented from getting inside the ship by strong currents and bad weather.

But 48 hours after the sinking the number of deaths was expected to rise sharply with about 270 people missing, many of them high school students on a class trip.

Officials said there were 179 survivors.

New questions were raised by a transcript of a ship-to-shore exchange and interviews by The Associated Press that showed the captain delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship.

South Korean rescue team members prepare to search for passengers of a ferry sinking off South Korea's southern coast

The order at 9am by an unidentified official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center to put on lifejackets and prepare for evacuation came just five minutes after a Wednesday morning distress call by the Sewol ferry.

A crew member on the ferry, which was bound for Jeju island, replied that 'it's hard for people to move.'

The ship made a sharp turn between 8.48am and 8.49am Korea time, but it's not known whether the turn was made voluntarily or because of some external factor, Nam Jae-heon, a director for public relations at the Maritime Ministry, said on Friday.

The captain has not spoken publicly about his decision making, and officials are not talking much about their investigation, which includes continued talks with the captain and crew.

Lee Joon-seok, the captain of a sunken ferry in the water off the southern coast arrives to be investigated at Mokpo Police Station in Mokpo on Thursday

But the new details about communication between the bridge and transportation officials follow a revelation by a crewmember in an interview with The Associated Press that the captain's eventual evacuation order came at least half an hour after the 9am distress signal.

Meanwhile, strong currents and rain made rescue attempts difficult again as they entered a third day.

Divers worked in shifts to try to get into the sunken vessel, where most of the missing passengers are thought to be, said coast guard spokesman Kim Jae-in.
Coast guard officials said divers began pumping air into the ship Friday, but it wasn't immediately clear if the air was for survivors or for a salvage operation.

Fears rose Thursday for the fate of more than 280 passengers still missing more than 24 hours
after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with water off the southern coast of South Korea. (AP Photo/Yonhap)

Officials said in a statement that divers were still trying to enter the ship.

South Korean officials also offered a glimpse into their investigation of what may have led to the sinking.
They said the accident happened at a point where the ferry from Incheon to Jeju had to make a turn.

Prosecutor Park Jae-eok said in a briefing that investigators were looking at whether the third mate ordered a turn whose degree was so sharp that it caused the ship to list.

The captain was not on the bridge at the time, Park said, adding that officials were looking at other possible causes, too.

A woman offers prayers during a candlelight vigil for the missing passengers of
a sunken ferry at Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, Thursday, April 17

Park also said crews' testimonies differed about where the captain was when the ship started listing.
As that listing continued, the captain was 'near' the bridge, Park said, but he couldn't say whether the captain was inside or right outside the bridge.

The operator of the ferry added more cabin rooms to three floors after its purchase the ship, which was built in Japan in 1994, an official at the private Korean Register of Shipping told the AP on Friday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss matters under investigation, said the extension work between October 2012 and February 2013 increased the Sewol's weight by 187 tons and added enough room for 117 more people.

People gather to pray with candlelights for the missing passengers at Danwon High School
The Sewol had a capacity of 921 when it sank.

As is common in South Korea, the ship's owner, Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd, paid for a safety check by the Korean Register of Shipping, the official said, which found that the Sewol passed all safety tests, including whether the ship could stabilize in the event of tilting to the right or to the left after adding more weight.
Ian Winkle, a British naval architect and ferry expert said many ships have such modifications, to increase capacity, for instance.

'In this particular case, it would have affected the stability by a small amount, but as it seems from the structure of the vessel, generally, it looks as if it was adequate to meet statutory regulations,' Winkle said.

Danwon High School students hold papers with messages such as "come back,"
"miss you," "love you" and "don't loose your hope" for their friends who are missing

Near the site of the ferry, angry and bewildered relatives gathered on a nearby island watched the rescue attempts. Some held a Buddhist prayer ritual, crying and praying for their relatives' safe return.

'I want to jump into the water with them,' said Park Geum-san, 59, the great-aunt of another missing student, Park Ye-ji. 'My loved one is under the water and it's raining. Anger is not enough.'
Kim, the coast guard spokesman, said two vessels with cranes arrived and would help with the rescue and to salvage the ferry, which sank not far from the southern city of Mokpo.
But salvage operations hadn't started yet because of the rescue attempts.
Out of 29 crewmembers, 20 people, including the captain, Lee Joon-seok, 68, survived, the coast guard said.

Family members of children are still missing in the sunken ferry the Sewol gather at a gymnasium in Jindo

Kim Soo-hyun, a senior coast guard official, said officials were investigating whether the captain got on one of the first rescue boats.
The 146-meter (480-foot) Sewol had left Incheon on the northwestern coast of South Korea on Tuesday for the overnight journey to the southern resort island of Jeju.

It was three hours from its destination Wednesday morning when it began to list for an unknown reason.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during a meeting with parents whose
children are now missing in Ship Sewol at a gymnasium in Jindo, South Korea, Thursday, April 17, 2014.

Fears rose Thursday for the fate of more than 280 passengers, many of them from a high school on a four-day trip, still missing more than 24 hours after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with water off the southern coast of South Korea.

Oh Yong-seok, a helmsman on the ferry with 10 years of shipping experience, said that when the crew gathered on the bridge and sent a distress call, the ship was already listing more than 5 degrees, the critical angle at which a vessel can be brought back to even keel.

The first instructions from the captain were for passengers to put on life jackets and stay where they were, Oh said.

A third mate reported that the ship could not be righted, and the captain ordered another attempt, which also failed, Oh said.
A crew member then tried to reach a lifeboat but fell because the vessel was tilting, prompting the first mate to suggest to the captain that he order an evacuation, Oh said.

Blue search light cast by South Korean Coast Guard helicopter shows a sunken ferry in the water off coast

About 30 minutes after passengers were told to stay in place, the captain finally gave the order to evacuate, Oh said, adding that he wasn't sure in the confusion and chaos on the bridge if the order was relayed to the passengers.

Several survivors told the AP that they never heard any evacuation order.

By then, it was impossible for crew members to move to passengers' rooms to help them because the ship was tilted at an impossibly acute angle, he said.

A rescue personal looks at a sea in windy and rainy day at a port in Jindo

The delay in evacuation also likely prevented lifeboats from being deployed.

'We couldn't even move one step. The slope was too big,' said Oh, who escaped with about a dozen others, including the captain.

The last major ferry disaster in South Korea was in 1993, when 292 people were killed.

This undated file photo shows the South Korean ferry Sewol that sank Wednesday, April 16, 2014 off South Korea's
southern coast with 475 people aboard, likely with scores of people trapped inside.

The Sewol now sits with just part of its keel visible in waters off Mokpo, about 470 kilometers (290 miles) from Seoul. (AP Photo/Yonhap, File)

AP10ThingsToSee - South Korean Coast Guard officers search for missing passengers aboard a sunken ferry
in the waters off the southern coast near Jindo, South Korea on Thursday, April 17, 2014.

An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday.
RIP to the departed and let us hope, a couple of miracles to find some of these kids happen

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