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SAT, 2014-12-20  KST

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Korean ferry disaster: Day 16
Updated: 2014-05-01 14:56:21 KST

We start with the latest on the Sewol-ho ferry disaster
The confirmed death toll now stands at 2-hundred-thirteen,.. with eighty-nine people, mostly teenagers, still unaccounted for.
For the latest on the search operations and the ongoing investigation into the sinking, our Kim Ji-yeon joins us from the news center,
Ji-yeon?

The rescue team that first arrived at the ferry site on April 16th is under fire again, over new information that reveals their slow and lax handling of the situation.
It took the Mokpo Coast Guard more than 20 minutes to depart for the ferry site after being dispatched.
The order was sent at around 8:58 a.m., but they didn't leave until 22 minute later at 9:20.
Faced with the criticism, the Korea Coast Guard downplayed the delay and said it was within their standards.
Normally it takes rescue teams a mere minutes, less than five minutes in all, to depart from their stations and head to the accident site.
Critics say the rescue team should have been adaquately trained and prepared to handle emergencies like the Sewol-ho ferry, especially in the waters that are notorious for strong sea currents.

How are the search operations going?

Divers focused their operations earlier today on the fourth floor of the vessel, mainly on the left side, where most of the missing were thought to be and on the fifth floor lobby.
They found one body on the fourth floor.
The authorities said they expect to make more progress in their search starting Friday as they believe they'll finally be able to get inside cabins that have been blocked by debris.
The Coast Guard once again tried to deploy a diving bell, but it was successful.
A diving bell is a chamber that can be used as a base for divers, enabling them to stay underwater for about an hour without having to return to the surface.

Now, Ji-yeon.., how about the investigation into the owner of the Chonghaejin Marine Company. Things continue to build up speed, it seems.

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 by Friday 10 a.m, Korea time so they now have less than 24 hours to meet that deadline.
And one of seven key figures linked to Yoo, is Song Kook-bin , the CEO of the cosmetics company called Dapanda.
Song was questioned for 14 hours Wednesday, at the Incheon District Prosecutor's Office on suspicion of corruption.
He is the second person to be questioned as a suspect, following Kim Han-sik , the president of the Chonghaejin Marine Company for any involvement in business irregularities such as embezzlement, dereliction of duty and tax evasion, in connection with Yoo.
Also, investigations have revealed that the Sewol-ho ferry had been put up for sale one month before the accident.
If the company would have sold it at its asking price Chonghaejin Marine Company would have taken a loss of roughly 5.8 million dollars.
Investigators are trying to figure out why.
That's all I have for now, but I will bring you more updates later on.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License

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