The death toll from the sinking of a South Korean ferry more than doubled today, passing the grim milestone of 100 bodies recovered.
Only 174 of the ship's 476 passengers are known to have survived. Efforts to find bodies (and, though hopes have diminished, survivors) were stymied over the past several days by weather, strong currents and poor visibility. Over the weekend, divers were finally able to enter the ferry and the death toll rose dramatically to 104. Nearly 200 people are still missing. Most of the missing or dead are high school students. Most the ship's crew survived.
A brutal (and, at times, graphic) article by the AP detailed what it was like for one father when his son's decomposed body was brought to shore. Though the boy had been dead and underwater for five days, Lee Byung-soo refused to believe he was gone and tried to perform CPR, saying "Daddy will save you!" An uncle of another missing child said "the parents' only wish right now is to find the bodies before they are badly decomposed."
As for the captain and crew of the ferry, three of whom were arrested on Saturday and four more who were detained today, President Park Geun-hye said today that their actions were "absolutely unacceptable, unforgivable actions" and "akin to murder," adding that she was filled with "rage and horror."
Today also brought the resignation of Song Young-chur, an official with the Ministry of Security and Public Administration who yesterday tried to take a commemorative photo in front of people who were waiting to hear news about their missing loved ones. Grieving family members were understandably very upset by this.
The cause of the sinking has yet to be determined. The ship's captain told investigators he did not immediately call for the ferry to be abandoned when it began to sink because he thought the currents in the water were too strong and people could drown if they weren't wearing life jackets. By the time the crew realized that the ship would have to be abandoned, many of its passengers were trapped and unable to escape.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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