A vice principal rescued from the South Korean ferry that sank on Wednesday has since been found dead of an apparent suicide. Kang Min-gyu, 52, was found hanging from a tree, just two days after being pulled from the boat before it capsized. He did not leave a suicide note, but nearly all of the 268 people who are still missing after the disaster are students at the same high school where he worked.
Of the 475 on board the vessel when it went down, 28 have been declared dead in what is likely to be South Korea's worst maritime accident in more than two decades. Rescuers were able to save 179 people on board. Divers are still searching for the missing, but now the ship has been completely submerged, and the hope of finding anyone else alive has dimmed considerably.
Today, officials issued an arrest warrant for the ship's captain and two members of the crew, following witness reports that the crew did not respond to the accident quickly or correctly, and that mishandling of the crisis could have prevented passengers from properly evacuating.
Also today, in a similar, but unrelated incident, an Indonesian boat carrying more than 70 people as part of a Good Friday ceremony capsized in the ocean, killing at least seven and leaving many others missing.
Thirty people saved by rescuers and fishermen have been taken to the hospital with injuries. According to officials, the boat was only meant to carry 30 people altogether, and some news outlets report that the number on board could have topped 100. The AP reports that such disasters are not uncommon in the region.
Update: According to the Wall Street Journal reports, South Korean police said vice principal Kang Min-gyu left a suicide note saying he felt responsible for putting the students at risk:
Please hold me responsible for all of this. I pushed for the school excursion. Cremate my body and spread my ashes over the ship sinking site. I may become a teacher again in the afterlife for the students whose bodies have yet to be found.
Reuters reported earlier that police said they had not found a suicide note.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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