Korean ferry disaster nine confirmed deadUpdated: 2014-04-17 12:00:24 (KST)
Let's now go over to our Kim Ji-yeon at the news center,for further details on this incident.
Ji-yeon, there's been a lot of talk here in Korea about the series of text messages that have been delivered to family members of victims since the ferry went down raising hopes of finding survivors.
But there's apparently more to the story, isn't there.
There is. Local authorities have confirmed that some messages sent from the missing were received at around midnight last night, some 15 hours after the ship started sinking.
The messages said they were alive, which is raising hopes more survivors will be found.
But, we must note, that there is a strong possibility these messages were sent earlier than that, and were just delivered late due to heavy data.
With regard to the search efforts, the Coast Guard began pumping oxygen into the hull of the vessel about an hour and a half ago, to help increase their chances of finding surviviors before they lift the ship off its side.
But heavy rain and gusts of wind are hampering the search efforts.
Heavy machinery being used for the rescue operation was swaying back and forth due to the winds and that, along with strong ocean currents are dropping temperatures of the waters, around 10 degrees Celsius as of this afternoon.
JM: So the weather conditions are hindering efforts. Now we still don't know what caused the ship to capsize. There's speculation the ferry might have hit a submerged reef or rocks or that it may have made a swift turn for some reason. What do we know about what may have happened?
The Coast Guard say there was an abrupt change in the ship's direction and this could have caused it to list.
Due to this, the 180 vehicles and one-thousand tons of cargo on board to shift to one side, ultimately leading the ship to capsize very quickly.
This, again, is a provisional finding as the investigation into what happened continues.
JM: How about the ship's crew? We're hearing the captain abandoned ship shortly after the ship started capsizing.
Local authorities continue to investigate all facets of this story
There is a lot of attention on who is responsible for this as it may offer clues to why and how this catastrophe developed.
There are many questions directed toward the Chonghaejin Marine Company that owns the ferry, .
Korea's financial watchdog says the company was having financial difficulties.
The ferry's captain, identified as 60-year-old Lee Jun-suk , is also under the microscope.
He was questioned this morning by authorities, and said he was truly sorry for the passengers and the victims' families.
His actions are being called into question, as to whether Lee abandoned the ship instead of helping passengers to safety.
There are certainly a lot of questions to be answered. Right now, we're simply hoping that search-and-rescue teams find survivors in what has turned into one of the worst disasters South Korea has seen in a very long time.
Thank you, Ji-yeon for that.
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