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Families of those missing from ferry disaster grow restless amid rising death toll

Updated: 2014-04-23 21:00:56 (KST)
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Down off Korea's southwestern coast search-and-rescue operations are in its eighth day.
Our correspondents are at Paengmok-hang Harbor - roughly 20 kilometers from where the ship capsized.
Hwang Sung-hee and Ji Myung-kil join us live.
Sung-hee, dozens of bodies were retrieved in overnight search operations, but still no word of a single survivor.


That's right.
We are now into the eighth day of search-and-rescue operations and not a single survivor has been found since the ferry capsized.
The death toll is rising rapidly and the number is currently at 1-hundred-57.
Most of the bodies found today were students from Danwon High School and still, some 1-hundred-50 people remain missing inside the sunken ship and most of them are high school students.
The families of the missing camping out here at the Paengmok-hang Harbor are clinging to every last bit of hope but they are growing restless.
Myung-kil, you had a chance to talk to a father of one of the missing students.


I got a chance to talk to a father whose son was on the Sewol-ho ferry.
He said that when he first received the news, he was assured by Danwon High School that his son was alive.
He remains one of the missing.


"My son was very gentle. He was a quiet boy and never disobeyed us. He would listen to all the things we would say to him as parents. He was very diligent and thoughtful."


"My son, I feel really sorry for the things I wasn't able to give you although sometimes I scolded you. That was because I loved you so much. I love you Jung-min . It's heartbreaking to think of the horror you must have gone through"

The father said he wanted the sunken vessel to be lifted to the surface as soon as possible, so that he could see his 18-year-old son, for one last time.


Yes, search-and-rescue operations are ongoing and the rescue team will focus their search on the third and fourth floors of the vessel.
That's where the cabins are and authorities believe that many passengers were there at the time of the accident.
This was backed up by a passenger on the Sewol-ho ferry.


"I was rescued early so I don't know the current situation. But based on what I saw there were students on the third and fourth floors, where the cabins are. They were told to wait and that's why it became too late to rescue them."

He was one of the first to be rescued when the ferry capsized but his wife still remains in the sunken ship.


Fifty divers are working simultaneously, using barges to search the third and fourth floors, like you said.
Ten fishing boats are using powerful flood lights to help divers operate in the dark.
More than 2-hundred rescue ships, 34 aircraft, and 5-hundred-50 divers are continuing their rescue operations.
Unfortunately, high-tech drones like the Remotely-Operated Vehicles are not yielding many results.


It's been a week since the tragedy and messages of support for those still missing in the sunken ship were sent to Paengmok-hang Harbor from across the nation.
The messages said "We love you all" and that "miracles will happen."
This has been Hwang Sung-hee and Ji Myung-kil reporting from Paengmok-hang Harbor.


Reporter : ssung86@arirang.co.kr

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