Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Fears that S. Korea ferry victims may never be recovered

01 May 2014, 09:51

Seoul -The recovery of a body from South Korea's ferry disaster some distance from the submerged vessel fuelled concerns Thursday that many among the scores still missing may never be found.

More than two weeks after the 6,825-tonne Sewol capsized and sank, 213 people have been confirmed dead but 89 remain unaccounted for, much to the frustration and anger of the victims' families.

On Wednesday, a fishing boat pulled a body from the sea about two kilometers (1.2 miles) away from the main recovery site off the southern island of Jindo.

"This made us even more aware of the importance of preventing the loss of victims' bodies," Park Seung-Ki, spokesman for the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, told reporters.

Recovery workers put a ring of netting around the site days ago, but there are concerns that powerful currents in the area may have pulled some bodies into the open sea.

The relatives of those still missing are insisting that all the bodies are recovered before efforts begin to raise the sunken ferry.

But the dive teams, working in challenging and sometimes hazardous conditions, have yet to access 22 of the ship's 66 passenger cabins in their grim search.

The Sewol capsized on April 16 with 476 people on board -- more than 300 of them from the same high school in Ansan city, just south of Seoul.

A group of 160 relatives whose children's bodies have been recovered left Ansan for Jindo on Thursday, to show support for those still waiting for their loved ones' remains to be retrieved.

It has become one of South Korea's worst peacetime disasters, and the tragic death of so many young students has fuelled the need to apportion blame and hold those responsible to account.

The captain and 14 of his crew have been arrested, and the ferry owners have become the focus of an ever-widening probe, but much of the public criticism has been directed at the government.

The general consensus is that lax safety standards and collusion between industry and regulators were partly to blame for the scale of the disaster, while officials have also been blamed for the initially slow rescue response.

The Sewol's regular captain, who was off duty on the day of the accident, has told prosecutors that the ferry operator -- Chonghaejin Marine Co -- "brushed aside" repeated warnings that the 20-year-old ship had stability issues following a renovation in 2012.

The precise cause of the accident is still under investigation, but experts have suggested a sharp turn may have caused its cargo to shift, and the ferry to list irretrievably to one side before capsizing.

Senior prosecutor Yang Jong-Jin said two Chonghaejin Marine officials had been questioned extensively Wednesday over allegations that the Sewol was carrying three times its recommended cargo weight.

President Park Geun-Hye apologised on Tuesday for her government's failure to combat systemic and regulatory "evils" that may have contributed to the accident and for the "insufficient first response".

Some victims' families rejected her apology and the president was heckled when she visited a memorial to the dead students in Ansan.

Her spokesman was forced to deny reports that a much-published photo of Park comforting an elderly woman at the memorial was staged, after it emerged that the woman was just a visitor, and not a relative.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Udada women's festival begins in ...

The Udada women's festival has arrived in Nairobi.

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Ababu chased by rowdy youth durin...

Ababu Namwamba was chased off by rowdy youth in a rally, after being accused of supporting the Jubilee Party. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Has Uhuru done enough for Kenyan ...

Has President Uhuru Kenyatta done enough to lift the lives of Kenyan youth? Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
COMMENT: Peter Kenneth adds no va...

Peter Kenneth adds no value to the Jubilee Party's 2017 bid, experts argue. Read more...