Monday, May 28, 2018

Search for missing ferry passengers put on hold

SEOUL, South Korea — Bad weather and the deterioration of internal partitions in a sunken ferry are hampering the search for those still missing in the disaster, South Korean officials said Saturday.

More than three weeks after the ferry sank, 29 passengers remain missing, with 275 bodies recovered so far, most of them high school students.

Internal partitions in the ferry have become waterlogged and started to bend, government task force spokesman Ko Myung-seok said. Marine officials said this can prevent divers from entering different parts of the ferry.

Ko also said divers were unable to carry out underwater searches Saturday because of bad weather.

Search teams took advantage of improved weather last week, but later were hampered by strong currents and floating debris inside the ship. A civilian diver lost consciousness while searching and died Tuesday.

Only 172 people survived the April 16 disaster. Most of the passengers were students from a high school south of Seoul.

All 15 surviving crew members involved in the ferry's navigation have been arrested on suspicion of negligence and failing to protect passengers. In addition to possible freight problems, prosecutors say they are looking into other factors, such as the turn made during the time the ship began listing, ocean currents and modifications made to the ship.

On Friday, Kim Han-sik, head of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd., which owns the sunken ferry, was arrested after investigators raised suspicions that improper stowage and overloading of cargo might have contributed to the accident. Kim is facing allegations that he was aware that the ferry exceeded its cargo limit but didn't do anything to stop it, according to prosecutors.

Comments

AP Top News at 4:18 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 4:18 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago

Head of major Chinese bank found dead in apparent suicide

State media say the head of a major bank in northern China has been found dead in his office in an apparent suicide
Updated: 1 hour ago
Eyes on Italy's president after he vetoes populists' choice

Eyes on Italy's president after he vetoes populists' choice

All eyes are on Italian President Sergio Mattarella after he vetoed the proposed euroskeptic economy minister of what would have been Western Europe's first populist government
Updated: 1 hour ago
Eyes on Italy's president after he vetoes populists' choice

Eyes on Italy's president after he vetoes populists' choice

All eyes are on Italian President Sergio Mattarella after he vetoed the proposed euroskeptic economy minister of what would have been Western Europe's first populist government
Updated: 1 hour ago
New Zealand to kill 150,000 cows to end bacterial disease

New Zealand to kill 150,000 cows to end bacterial disease

New Zealand to kill 150,000 cows to wipe out bacterial disease
Updated: 1 hour ago

Afghan official: Gunmen kill 3 people in Herat province

Afghan official: Gunmen kill at least 3 people in an attack in western Herat province
Updated: 1 hour ago
US team in NKorea raises expectations of a Trump-Kim summit

US team in NKorea raises expectations of a Trump-Kim summit

Presence of U.S. officials in North Korea for talks raises expectations that a summit between Trump and Kim will take place after all
Updated: 2 hours ago
US team in NKorea raises expectations of a Trump-Kim summit

US team in NKorea raises expectations of a Trump-Kim summit

Presence of U.S. officials in North Korea for talks raises expectations that a summit between Trump and Kim will take place after all
Updated: 2 hours ago

Paris migrant hero who saved dangling child to meet Macron

A migrant from Mali, reportedly without papers, is being honored by French President Emmanuel Macron for scaling an apartment building over the weekend to save a young child suspended from a balcony
Updated: 2 hours ago
Aussie drivers first to win Monaco, Indianapolis on same day

Aussie drivers first to win Monaco, Indianapolis on same day

Ricciardo and Power complete rare double for Australian drivers
Updated: 2 hours ago