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Relatives of missing South Korea ferry passengers confront officials

JINDO, South Korea — Angry relatives of some of the more than 120 people still missing from the sinking of the ferry Sewol surrounded the fisheries minister and the coast guard chief Thursday, preventing them from leaving the area where families have been waiting for word of their loved ones for more than a week.

It was the latest expression of fury and desperation in a disaster filled with signs that the government did too little to protect passengers. An opposition politician said he has a document showing that the ferry was carrying far more cargo than it should have been.

Relatives of the missing passengers surrounded Oceans and Fisheries Minister Lee Ju-young, coast guard chief Kim Seok-kyun and deputy chief Choi Sang-hwan. The men sat on the ground under a tent where details about the recovered dead, now numbering 175, are posted.

Some of the family members shouted at the officials, accusing them of lying about the operation, demanding that the search continue through the night and asking why hundreds of civilian divers have not been allowed to join in searching for bodies. Some of the relatives cried through the tense scene.

"We are doing our work and we, too, feel the way you do," Kim said. "We are trying to bring all the equipment that we can."

Eleven crew members, including the captain, have been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need as the ferry sank April 16. Arrest warrants were issued against four of the crew on Thursday.

The cause of the disaster is not yet known.

Relatives of missing South Korea ferry passengers confront officials 04/24/14 [Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2014 11:03pm]
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