Sewol-ho ferry tragedy: Day 15Updated: 2014-04-30 20:33:37 (KST)
Two weeks have passed since the tragic Sewol-ho ferry disaster put the entire nation in a state of shock, sorrow and frustration.
The number of confirmed dead stands at 2-hundred-12, while 90 people still remain unaccounted for.
For a look at the latest developments on the search-and-rescue front and the ongoing investigation our Kwon So-a joins us here in the studio.
So-a, what's the latest?
As we've entered the second week since the accident, investigations into everything related to the sinking of the Sewol-ho ferry seem to be never-ending.
Before we get into those details, a couple of hours ago at a press briefing in Jindo, the Commissioner General of the Korea Coast Guard Kim Suk-kyoon, a member of the government task force handling the ferry disaster, apologized for the pain the accident has caused for families of the victims.
He bowed his head and expressed his deep responsibility for the inefficient and late rescue efforts.
He also said he'll push for clear answers to the criminal investigations.
That includes allegations against the operator of the ferry Chonghaejin Marine Company of overloading the vessel.
Two staff members have been arrested for ignoring crew member's safety warnings, on multiple occasions.
Also, a shocking revelation was made today, regarding rescue operations in the early days following the ferry sinking.
A lawmaker of the parliamentary defense committee said that a report by the defense ministry showed the maritime police restricted the Navy from getting close to the accident site, and claimed that Undine, a private rescue operation company, should dive first.
The company was apparently hired by Chonghaejin Marine.
Meanwhile, a special investigation team is speeding up its probe, especially on the practical owner of the ferry operator, Yoo Byung-eon.
Yoo's brother-in-law and two daughters have been notified to appear before prosecutors on Friday by 10 a.m.
Also, investigations have revealed that the Sewol-ho ferry had been put up for sale a month before the accident.
It was being sold for an amount that would have resulted in financial losses of roughly 5.8 million dollars.
Investigators are trying to figure out why.
So-a, another night has fallen on the accident site, how have search operations been proceeding today?
Two more bodies were recovered this afternoon, one was a male student on the fourth floor of the ship, and the other, a female student found at least one kilometer away from the accident site.
Earlier at around 3 a.m., five bodies were recovered on the fourth and fifth floors.
Despite good weather conditions, search operations halted periodically, as divers encountered problems with high tides and fast currents.
This Wednesday, rescuers have not only focused on the fourth floor, where initially most of the missing were thought to be, but also on the fifth floor lobby, where many of the recently retrieved bodies were located.
"As the waters started coming in, the students probably instinctively rushed to the upper floor."
The students most likely tried to make their way up the stairs to the fifth floor, to get onto the deck of the ship, but, unfortunately they were not able to get out.
So-a, and many of the students that survived and were hospitalized after the accident were allowed to go home today. How are they doing?
Yes, out of the 88 patients from the Sewol-ho ferry accident that were hospitalized at Korea University Ansan Hospital, 74 were Danwon High School students, and 70 of them were discharged this Wednesday after lunch time.
Doctors said their conditions had improved considerably.
"It's been determined that most of the students don't have any symptoms that could trigger dangerous after-effects in the near future."
Many had shown signs of post-traumatic stress following the accident.
The president of the hospital said the students should not be exposed to any news on the Sewol-ho or anything else that might remind them of that tragic day.
By the students' request, the group was able to visit the memorial altar in Ansan to say their good-byes to their fellow classmates and teachers who did not survive.
Reporter : firstname.lastname@example.org