• 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

  • Crime

    DOC commissioner calls officer’s arrest a victory for new unit

    by Eric Ruble on May 25, 16:55

    The Department of Corrections said Wednesday the arrest of one of their own was frustrating for commissioner Dean Williams, but a small victory for a new DOC internal affairs unit. At a press conference, Williams credited the successful investigation and arrest of Goose Creek Corrections officer Adam Spindler, 32, to the commissioner’s new Professional Conduct […]

  • News

    Town Square Park fountain will be removed to address public safety concerns

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 14:49

    Anchorage’s Town Square Park fountain will soon be taken down in an effort by the municipality to combat public safety concerns, according to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. “This fountain is a way of camouflaging criminal activity that I don’t think we just need to tolerate,” Berkowitz said. The mayor made the announcement late-Wednesday morning inside of […]

  • Lifestyle

    Medical Myth: Debunking the risk factors of diabetes

    by Daybreak Staff on May 25, 13:10

    On Daybreak’s Medical Myth segment, Dr. Briana Cranmer, of Medical Park Family Care, gave her take on what could cause diabetes. Being obese can be a factor, but there’s typically more to it. Other factors include; family history, ethnicity and age, Cranmer explained. While there are often no obvious signs a person has Diabetes, one red […]

  • DayBreak

    Workforce Wednesday: Water treatment facility operator

    by Daybreak Staff on May 25, 12:23

    Anchorage has some of the best drinking water in the country. We use more than 25 million gallons per day. Water Treatment Facility Operators are in charge of filtering, disinfecting and putting fluoride in the water before sending it into a thousand miles of piping to your tap. Wednesday, Mike Kukowski, a foreman with Anchorage […]

  • Lifestyle

    Deadline approaching for annual Denali park road lottery

    by Associated Press on May 25, 10:41

    The deadline for entering the annual Denali National Park and Preserve road lottery is approaching. People can enter online and by phone through Tuesday for a chance to be able to drive their personal vehicle along the park road after the summer tourist season ends. During the summer, shuttle buses are the main mode of […]

  • Sports

    Anchorage couple ready for water, elements and 12.5 mile swim

    by Dave Goldman on May 25, 8:40

    A Florida vacation with sandy beaches and warm, tropical water sounds good, doesn’t it? It’s been calling Corrie and Greg Martin — they’re answering, but how they’re heeding the call may differ from how you might. The Anchorage husband and wife team heads for Key West, one of the most relaxed places on the planet for […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage crime trends predict hundreds of bicycles will be stolen this summer

    by Daniella Rivera on May 25, 0:08

    Bicycle shops in Anchorage say they think bike thefts are on the rise, and the people stealing them are bolder than ever. Police say the season of bike thefts is just beginning, and hundreds more are likely to be reported before summer ends. One man took off on a bike from The Bicycle Shop over […]

  • News

    Combating heroin on the Kenai: The Soldotna survivor

    by Sierra Starks on May 24, 23:50

    Tammi Charlesworth passes by the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center on her drive to work six days a week. The 35-year-old spent about two years there, serving time on a forgery charge. “I stole from my dad,” said Charlesworth. “And he turned me in, hoping to save my life.” Prior to her time at Hiland, she […]