• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 42s

Death toll rises as search continues for survivors in sunken ferry

By CBS/AP 2:02 PM April 19, 2014
MOKPO, South Korea –

The captain of a sunken South Korean ferry was arrested Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need, as investigators looked into whether his evacuation order came too late to save lives. Two crew members were also arrested, a prosecutor said.

The disaster three days ago left more than 265 people missing and at least 46 people dead.

As the last bit of the sunken ferry’s hull slipped Friday beneath the murky water off southern South Korea, there was a new victim: a vice principal of the high school whose students were among the passengers was found hanged, an apparent suicide.

The investigation into South Korea’s ferry disaster focused on the sharp turn it took just before it began listing and on the possibility that a quicker evacuation order by the captain could have saved lives, officials said Friday, as rescuers struggled to find some 270 people still missing and feared dead.

Police said a high school vice principal who had been rescued from the ferry was found hanging Friday from a pine tree on Jindo, an island near the sunken ship where survivors have been housed. He was the leader of a group of 323 students traveling on the ship on a school excursion, and said in a suicide note that he felt guilty for being alive while more than 200 of his students were missing.

Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin said the ferry captain, Lee Joon-seok, 68, faces five charges including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Yang said earlier that Lee was not on the bridge when the ferry was passing through an area with many islands clustered closely together, something he said is required by law so the captain can help a mate make a turn. The captain also abandoned people in need of help and rescue, he said.

“The captain escaped before the passengers,” Yang said.

Yang told reporters that the third mate was steering the ship Wednesday morning as it passed through an area with lots of islands clustered close together and fast currents.

Prosecutor Park Jae-eok said investigators were looking at whether the third mate ordered a turn so sharp that it caused the vessel to list.

Yang said the third mate has six months of experience, and hadn’t steered in the area before because another mate usually handles those duties. She took the wheel this time because heavy fog caused a departure delay, Yang said, adding that investigators do not know whether the ship was going faster than usual.

Helmsman Park Kyung-nam identified the third mate as Park Han-kyul. The helmsman who was arrested, 55-year-old Cho Joon-ki, spoke to reporters outside court and accepted some responsibility.

“There was a mistake on my part as well, but the steering had been turned much more than usual,” Cho said.

With the chances of survival becoming slimmer by the hour, it was shaping up to be one of South Korea’s worst disasters, made all the more heartbreaking by the likely loss of so many young people, aged 16 or 17.

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    Anchorage Bucs capture Alaska Baseball League title

    by on Aug 04, 23:39

    The Anchorage Bucs used strong pitching and defense to win their first American League Baseball title since 1998. The Bucs shutout the MatSu Miners 2-0 on Tuesday night to win the league’s “Top of the World Series” at Hermon Brothers Field, two games to one. The third game became necessary when MatSu won Game 2 […]

  • News

    Anchorage police use National Night Out to rebuild trust

    by Shannon Ballard on Aug 04, 23:10

    The Anchorage Police Department says times have changed and they are no longer the people many in the community turn to in a crisis, especially teenagers. Police are trying to rebuild those relationships. On Tuesday, the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club was host to several Anchorage police officers as part of National Night Out. The […]

  • Politics

    Public comment coming to a close on first set of pot regulations

    by Alexis Fernandez on Aug 04, 22:44

    The board in charge of writing marijuana regulations for Alaska is making progress. For the past month, the Marijuana Control Board has been taking feedback from the public on its first two sets of regulations, which address things like licensing, operating parameters, reporting and taxing. The last day to submit public comment for the first […]

  • News

    Victims’ families offer emotional testimony at James Holmes trial

    by CBS News on Aug 04, 21:35

    Jurors struggled to hold back tears Tuesday as a grieving father described how he returns now and then to the Colorado movie theater where his son was murdered. Tom Sullivan’s voice wavered as he described how his family looks for the very spot where his son Alex was killed while celebrating his 27th birthday and first wedding […]

  • News

    Alaskans who receive food stamps face stricter work requirements

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 04, 20:40

    The federal government will begin enforcing stricter requirements next year for Alaskans who receive food stamps. Starting in January, Alaskans between the ages of 18 and 49 who are “able-bodied” and have no dependents will have to work or take employment training an average of 20 hours a week to get food stamps. If they […]

  • News

    Summertime blues: Berry picking begins in Arctic Valley

    by Heather Hintze on Aug 04, 20:03

    The slopes of Arctic Valley are prime for picking. “This is a lot more than we found last year,” said Jami Bushman, who brought her six kids out to enjoy the sunshine and the bounty of berries in Anchorage’s backyard. “It’s fun just to sit here and talk and tell stories while we’re picking.” While some […]

  • News

    Alaska Bureau of Investigation cuts Cold Case Unit

    by Jacquie Slater on Aug 04, 19:56

    Since 2002, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation’s Cold Case Unit has been working hard to solve 110 homicide cases. Some of them date back to the 1960s, and investigators say combing through the extensive files is a methodical and slow process. “Part of working those types of cases, you have to truly be intimately involved […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, Aug. 4

    by KTVA Weather on Aug 04, 19:44

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Mostly sunny and warm with light wind. A few more clouds in coastal areas and a few degrees cooler.   Southeast Mostly cloudy skies with scattered showers from Juneau to the north.   Interior/North Slope The interior will be a little cooler with scattered showers and even a chance of thunderstorms. […]