South Korea ferry tragedy: Anger mounts after bodies found trapped

Apr 19 2014, 19:05 IST
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A South Korea ferry disaster affected parent expresses his anger as hope fades of saving any one aboard. Reuters A South Korea ferry disaster affected parent expresses his anger as hope fades of saving any one aboard. Reuters
SummarySouth Korea ferry disaster has moved from one of hope to despair and now, to anger.

South Korea ferry disaster has moved from one of hope to despair and now, to anger. Angry relatives of more than 200 people, mostly children, missing inside a sunken South Korea ferry demanded authorities act now to raise the vessel and hit out at officials, including the country's president, as hopes of finding survivors faded.

Divers saw three bodies floating through a window of a passenger cabin on Saturday but were unable to retrieve them, the coastguard said.

Grieving parents and others gathered in a gymnasium in the port of Jindo, the rescue centre for the operation, were shown murky underwater video footage of the hull of the ship on Saturday for the first time.

It was impossible to see any bodies in the footage viewed by relatives and reporters at the site.

"Please lift the ship, so we can get the bodies out," a woman who identified herself as the mother of a child called Kang Hyuck said, using a microphone in the gymnasium where hundreds of people have spent day and night since the ferry capsized on Wednesday.

"(President) Park Geun-hye should come here again," she said of the South Korean leader who visited the site on Thursday.

Of the 273 missing, most are children from a single high school on the outskirts of the South Korean capital of Seoul. Some parents were giving DNA swabs so rescuers can identify the corpses.

Three cranes have been moved to the site of the rescue operation, but have not yet been deployed and divers have not been able to gain entry to the ship due to fast tides and murky water conditions. The weather was deteriorating in the afternoon, meaning the divers may not be able to start the operation on Saturday.

Divers tried to break the glass to get at the three bodies they saw on Saturday, but failed to do so, the coastguard said.

Coastguard spokesman Kim Jae-in said the cranes would be deployed when the divers said it was safe to do so.

"Lifting the ship does not mean they will remove it completely from the sea. They can lift it two to three metres off the seabed," he said.

The cause of the capsize has not yet been identified, but the investigation has centred on what may have been a sudden turn by the Sewol ferry that may have caused its cargo to shift.

The capsize occurred in calm weather on a well-travelled 400 km (300 mile)

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