• 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

  • News

    The Latest: Prosecutor says Holmes’ evaluators didn’t agree

    by Associated Press on Apr 27, 12:36

    2 p.m. The prosecutor in the Colorado movie theater shooting trial says the experts who examined the gunman couldn’t agree on what mental disorder he has. District Attorney George Brauchler also says James Holmes, a former graduate student in neuroscience, gave them conflicting answers about his motives. Brauchler noted during opening arguments that Holmes told […]

  • News

    A moving target: Postal inspectors root out liquor by mail

    by Ben Matheson / KYUK on Apr 27, 12:09

    Citizens in Bethel are weighing a decision on a proposal for the for the first liquor store in decades. In the shadow of the debate is a powerful and elaborate bootlegging economy across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. A small team of federal law enforcement agents with the United States Postal Inspection Service is working to keep alcohol out […]

  • News

    Snowmachiner rescued after sustaining serious injuries

    by Hope Miller on Apr 27, 12:08

    A Valdez man snowmachining with a group near Thompson Pass was hospitalized after sustaining serious injuries in a crash Saturday, authorities say. Andrew Doherty, 29, was flown to a hospital in Valdez before being taken to Anchorage for treatment, according to an online dispatch from Alaska State Troopers. Allie Hendrickson, spokeswoman for the City of […]

  • Politics

    Alaska Senate accepts budget proposal

    by Associated Press on Apr 27, 12:06

    The Alaska Senate has voted to accept a budget proposal that, without the support of House Democrats, could leave state government partially funded. The House’s Democratic-led minority has opposed cuts to education included in the budget, as well as the budget’s rejection of negotiated pay raises for labor union contracts for next year, among other […]

  • On-Air

    Teacher of the Week: Brandon Hipsak

    by Daybreak Staff on Apr 27, 11:25

    “Keeping it real” with his students is the key to success for Service High School English teacher Brandon Hipsak. “I treat them respectfully. I demand responsibility out of them. I demand effort out of them, and if I don’t get those three components they know they’ll be in trouble and they’ll have to serve something […]

  • DayBreak

    United Way hosts scavenger hunt to support kids in the community

    by Daybreak Staff on Apr 27, 11:09

    Pull a team together and put your thinking caps on — United Way of Anchorage is hosting its first downtown scavenger hunt. It’s all to support programs and special works like 90% by 2020, which helps Anchorage kids succeed. On Monday, Aimee Chauvot, United Way’s grassroots fundraising director, joined Daybreak to explain how the event works. “On […]

  • News

    State Dep’t: 4 Americans dead in Nepal quake, 2 identified

    by CNN / AP on Apr 27, 10:48

      The State Department says at least four Americans have died in Nepal’s earthquake. Spokesman Jeff Rathke says all of the U.S. citizens were killed at the Mt. Everest base camp. He identified two as Thomas Ely Taplin and Vinh B. Truong. The other two haven’t been named yet, either because consular officials haven’t confirmed […]

  • News

    1 million passengers expected on Alaska cruise lines in 2015

    by Associated Press on Apr 27, 10:07

    Alaska is preparing for a strong tourist season, with industry forecasts predicting about 1 million passengers on Alaska cruises. KTOO-FM reports (http://bit.ly/1DtcMa4) that former state lawmaker and current president of Cruise Lines International Association Alaska John Binkley expects a 3 percent increase in cruise passengers this year. Binkley also warned that as the cruise industry […]