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South Korean ferry accident: cellphone video depicts confusion as vessel sank

Cell phone video recovered along with the body of a teenage boy aboard the now-sunken Sewol ferry depicts confusion aboard the five-story vessel as it was sinking on April 16. The underwater search for the bodies of the 114 still missing was halted Monday due to bad weather conditions. Meanwhile, the investigation into the ferry accident continues.
By JC Finley   |   April 28, 2014 at 4:27 PM   |   Comments

SEOUL, April 28 (UPI) -- Bad weather halted the search for the 114 passengers listed as missing who were aboard the ferry that sank off the coast of South Korea on April 16.

The ferry was carrying 476 people when it capsized off Jindo Island and 174 passengers were rescued on the day of the accident, including the captain and most of the crew. So far, 188 have been confirmed dead.

On Monday, the Coast Guard said "Some 92 divers are ready to resume the job, but operations underwater are not possible as of now" due to inclement weather causing strong currents.

The search of the five story vessel has been hampered by murky water, strong currents and sealed compartments. There is also concern that the currents may have swept some bodies away.

"Apart from the ongoing efforts including casting nets surrounding the site and operations by trawlers, we are considering diverse measures to prevent bodies from being lost," a Coast Guard official said, adding "We also asked for cooperation from Japan and China."

Cellphone video taken aboard the sinking vessel by a teenage passenger made headlines Monday. The boy, whose cellphone was recovered along with his body and turned over to investigators, included a three-minute audio clip that depicted the confusion as the ferry sank.

"Wow, it's tilting a lot. We're tilting to the side. Can't move."

"You think I'm really gonna die?"

"What's going on?"

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, amid increasing controversy over his administration's handling of the Sewol ferry disaster, resigned Sunday. In his resignation statement, he acknowledged "During the search process, the government took inadequate measures and disappointed the public."

An investigation into the cause of the sinking is ongoing. Meanwhile, the ship's captain and crew have been arrested.

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