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Latest on Sewol-ho ferry accident

Updated: 2014-04-28 22:52:45 (KST)
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It's been almost two weeks now since the tragic Sewol-ho ferry disaster put the nation in a state of shock and sorrow.
The number of confirmed deaths currently stands at 1-hundred-89, while 1-hundred-13 others, mostly high school students, remain missing and are presumed dead.
For the latest, we go over to our Kwon Soa at the News Center.
So-a, not much progress to speak of with regard to the search in recent days.

Yes, only one body has been recovered Monday and that was mainly due to harsh weather conditions.
High tides, fast currents, fog, and rain all were trouble factors
What makes matters worse, is that this Tuesday the sea conditions are expected to get tougher currents could reach speeds of 2.4 meters per second.
The number of rescue boats on stand-by at the accident site has significantly decreased.
When divers were in the water, they mainly focused on the fourth floor of the ferry, where most of the remaining missing are believed to be and where they found that body earlier.
So far, around one-third of the 1-hundred-11 cabins have been searched.

Earlier in the day, a video was released by authorities that shows the first moments of the rescue situation. What did we learn?

That's right.
That video is very crucial in determining how the first minutes of rescue efforts were carried out, but also in proving that the captain and the rest of the crew were among the first who fled the ship.
The central focus of the nearly 10 minutes of footage taken by a member of the rescue team, is the period between 9:43 a.m. and 9:49 a.m.
It shows the captain of the Sewol-ho ferry Lee Joon-seok and his crew fleeing without attending to passengers.
The captain was not wearing his uniform, or pants, as he left the vessel with the help of the Coast Guard, meaning the rescuers were unable to distinguish him as being the captain.
By 9:35 a.m., all 15 crew members had begun fleeing the ship, but as the video shows, hardly any passengers could be seen on the deck of the ferry, raising criticism that the crew did not give an order to them to leave the ship.

Mokpo coast guard official Kim Kyung-il , who was one of the first to arrive on the scene,explained the conditions at the time, at a press briefing on Monday.


"My team tried to get inside the vessel, into the broadcasting booth to tell the passengers to get out of the vessel. But we weren't able. The vessel was listing 40 to 50 degrees and there were people in the freezing water."

The prosecution's special investigative team is continuing to look for those responsible for the ferry's sinking. What's the latest there?

Yes, the number of subjects in the probe are increasing.
Investigations into the ferry operator's practical owner, Yoo Byung-eon continue, as prosecutors raided four locations in Seoul, Daegu, and Gyeonggi-do Province Monday morning, looking for evidence of paper companies.
They also raided the Mokpo Coast Guard Station, suspecting officers there neglected their duties in the early stages of the rescue.
Three members of the Korea Shipping Association have been arrested, for destroying evidence in relation to the case.
Investigations into whether the Sewol-ho ferry had malfunctioning life boats on board, will also likely expand.
The equipment may have been in use ever since they were manufactured in 1994.
This comes as five life boats were found floating near the accident site, meaning they began to work much later than they should have.
Normally, a life boat would deploy automatically when receiving external pressure.

We also heard about the last text message that was sent from a passenger inside the ship?

Yes, investigations revealed that at 10:17 a.m., on the day of the accident, a message sent via the messaging service KakaoTalk, was the last reception from a mobile phone inside the ship.
It apparently came from a student.
That was around 10 minutes before the last survivor was saved.
The investigation headquarters is analyzing around 4-hundred messages and pictures sent through KakaoTalk, to get a clearer image of what happened on the day of the tragic accident.


Reporter : amho88@naver.com

Comments

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angelwingstx (USA) APR 28, 2014    

It is very sad that people, including the children, did not receive safety briefings from the ferry personnel as to the life rafts, life vests, how to board a life boat or what to do and where to go when to a boat is sinking. Surely, shutting yourself into a room on the 4th floor of a sinking vessel is not the best plan.

tangiia (New Zealand) APR 28, 2014    

What's with the 'blame-game' grasping at straws and looking for others to blame, concentrate on retrieving the missing. Then serve justice - it seems like officials are looking for anyone to lay blame upon for acting 'quickly'!! C'mon now its getting silly....