• 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

  • Weekend concert to benefit Alaska Music Project for Youth

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 20, 12:58

    Just how easy is it to record a song? J.W. Frye and Matthew Brenna with Alaska Music Project for Youth (AMP) showed Daybreak how it’s done. The organization is also holding a benefit concert, with headliner Black Water Railroad Company, on Oct. 22 at Williwaw. Proceeds will help AMP hit its goal of 18 mobile […]

  • Cup with the Chief: APD’s staffing goals and how to prevent winter crime

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 20, 12:28

    The Anchorage Police Department is well on its way to hitting a goal of 400 officers by the end of the year. APD Chief Chris Tolley sat down with Daybreak to discuss how they are working toward that goal. He also said winter is nearly here, and that means the department will see a spike […]

  • News

    SLIDESHOW: Alaska Federation of Natives convention celebrates 50 years

    by Megan Edge on Oct 20, 12:17

    The Alaska Federation of Natives convention kicked off in Fairbanks on Thursday with speakers from all over the U.S. The first day of the three-day event was packed with emotional testimony from the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, young leaders and elders. Special guests from the White House, as well as Alaska politicians, addressed the crowd. […]

  • News

    Decomposed body found near railroad tracks in south Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 20, 11:26

    Police say a decomposed body was found Wednesday evening in south Anchorage. The Anchorage Police Department stated in a release Thursday morning that the report came in around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. APD said the remains were found near the railroad tracks off Huffman Road near the intersection of Old Seward Highway. Police say that nothing […]

  • Weather

    First measurable snowfall of the season coming to Anchorage, Mat-Su

    by Rachael Penton on Oct 20, 10:39

    ANCHORAGE — A cold front is on the way to Southcentral and will bring the first chance for measurable snowfall for the Anchorage area beginning late Thursday. Rain will develop Thursday afternoon across the Susitna Valley, before spreading to the Matanuska Valley and Anchorage by the evening hours. As temperatures fall, the rain will mix […]

  • Live Blog – Alaska Federation of Natives convention

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 20, 10:13

    [View the story “Live Blog – 2016 AFN Convention” on Storify]

  • News

    Athabascan bead artist gets ready for AFN

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 19, 22:41

    Donna Pulliam, an Athabascan bead artist, has worked hard all year to prepare for the Customary Arts Show at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention. When AFN gets underway in Fairbanks on Thursday, she’ll join more than 100 other artists who share the same passion for their traditional art and culture — and the thrill […]

  • News

    Anchorage, Whittier to sign contract for police coverage in Girdwood

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 19, 22:37

    The Whittier Police Department may start assigning officers to patrol Girdwood as soon as this weekend. Sam Daniel, a member of the Girdwood Board of Supervisors, said city managers for Whittier and Anchorage are expected to sign a contract with WPD on Thursday. It will take effect beginning Saturday, he said. The Anchorage Assembly approved the contract earlier this month, shortly after […]