#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 15°C Sunday 17 October 2021
Advertisement

16 bodies recovered from capsized South Korean ferry

Almost 250 people are still unaccounted for.

South Korea Ship Sinking The body of a passenger aboard the Sewol ferry which sank in the water off the southern coast, is carried by rescue workers upon arrival at a port in Jindo. Source: Lee Jin-man/AP/Press Association Images

DIVERS HAVE RETRIEVED the first bodies from inside the submerged South Korean ferry.

The ship capsized four days ago with hundreds of children on board, and families have become angered by the pace of the rescue efforts scuffled with police.

Coastguard officials said 16 bodies had been removed from the ship which sank on Wednesday morning, pushing operations further along the painful transition from rescue to recovery and identification.

The captain of the ship yesterday defended the slow evacuation of the ship.

The retrieval of the first bodies from the interior came after prosecutors revealed that the officer at the helm of the 6,825-tonne Sewol when it capsized was not familiar with those particular waters.

The confirmed death toll from the disaster stood at 56 with 246 people still unaccounted for.

Three bodies were pulled out of the fully submerged ferry just before midnight and another 13 were recovered later Sunday morning, a coastguard spokesman said.

The breakthrough followed days of fruitless efforts by more than 500 divers to access the capsized ship, while battling powerful currents and near-zero visibility.

It was a watershed moment for distraught relatives who have clung desperately to the idea that some passengers may have survived in air pockets in the upturned vessel.

The bodies were placed in tents at the harbour on Jindo island — not far from the disaster site — where the relatives have been camped out in a gymnasium since the ferry went down.

In a process that looks set to be repeated with tragic frequency in the coming days, they were checked for IDs and other particulars, after which their relatives were informed and asked to make an official identification.

Some of the policemen standing guard at the tents were openly weeping, while the cries of the family members could be heard from inside.

South Korea Ship Sinking Relatives of missing passengers aboard the sunken ferry Sewol struggle with policemen as they try to march toward the presidential house to protest the government's rescue operation in Jindo. Source: Ahn Young-joon/AP/Press Association Images

Of the 476 people on board the Sewol, 350 were high school students headed for the holiday island of Jeju.

The devastated relatives have repeatedly denounced what they feel has been a botched, delayed and incompetent emergency response to the disaster.

Nearly 200 family members set off Sunday on a hike from Jindo to Seoul — 420 kilometres (260 miles) to the north — where they planned to march on the presidential Blue House in protest.

Scuffles broke out when they were prevented from crossing the bridge to the mainland by a large police detachment, and eventually they were forced to turn back.

© – AFP, 2014

Read: Captain of capsized ferry defends delayed evacuation >

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (9)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel