South Korean Ferry Capsizes in Yellow Sea, Hundreds Missing

By Paul Riegler on 16 April 2014
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Jeju Province Island

Jeju Province Island

A ferry traveling from Incheon, South Korea to Jeju Island capsized in the Yellow Sea late Tuesday and hundreds of passengers remain unaccounted for.

The ferry left from the port of Incheon, about 30 km (20 miles) west of Seoul, late on Tuesday heading towards the resort island of Jeju, a 264-mile (424.5-kilometer) route.

The Sewol ferry apparently listed onto its side and capsized in what were reported to be calm conditions off South Korea’s southwest coast.  Media reports said that several survivors said they heard a “loud impact” before the ship started to list.

News reports indicate that at least four bodies have been recovered and that hundreds of passengers are missing.  Authorities said that at least 164 people have been rescued.  Many of the passengers were students from a high school near Seoul, who were on a trip for spring break.

Television footage shows the ferry completely turned over, with only the forward part of its white and blue hull visible above the water.

The ship was a 6,825-ton vessel named Sewol, which means “time and tide” in Korean, and can hold up to 921 passengers.  It was operated by Chonghaejin Marine Co. twice a week and, in addition to passengers, carries cars and freight. The trip between Incheon and Jeju is one of the most common ferry routes in the country.

(Photo: Yoo Chung)

Accura News

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