Nearly 300 People Missing After South Korean Ferry Capsizes

More than 300 people are still missing after a ferry sank off South Korea. The ferry, Sewol, was carrying 477 people, of whom 164 were confirmed rescued, coastguard officials said. Two people were confirmed dead after the ferry leaned heavily onto its side and capsized in apparently calm conditions off South Korea’s southwest coast.

The Ministry of Security and Public Administration had reported that 368 people had been rescued and that about 100 were missing. It later described those figures as a miscalculation, turning what had first appeared to be a largely successful rescue operation into potentially a major disaster.

Most of those on board were children and their teachers from a high school in Seoul on a field trip to Jeju Island. An official from the school said all of its 338 students and teachers had been rescued safely but that could not be confirmed by the coastguard or other officials involved in the rescue.

The ferry began to list badly about 20km off the southwest coast as it headed for Jeju. Coastguard vessels and fishing boats scrambled to rescue those on board. Other passengers were rescued by helicopters hovering overheard.

A distress signal was sent from the ship early on Wednesday, triggering a rescue operation that involved almost 100 coastguard and navy vessels and fishing boats, as well as 18 helicopters. There was no immediate indication of what caused the ship to list and roll on its side, although one witness said there had been a loud impact and noise before it started sinking.

Story courtesy of the Maritime Executive, to read the full article click here.

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exactAIS® tracking of the South Korean ferry, Sewol, before it capsized off South Korea’s southwest coast.

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