Four people are confirmed dead and nearly 300 remain missing after a ferry sank off the coast of South Korea. The ship was en route to the island of Jeju with more than 300 high school students and 15 teachers on board for a school trip when it started to go down.
The ferry made a distress call shortly before 9 a.m. local time when survivors report they heard and felt the ship crash into something. The boat began to tilt dramatically and then sank within two hours of the S.O.S. call.
Survivor Kim Seong-mok reported that the captain ordered passengers to stay in their places after the initial crash. There was never an announcement to flee to the upper decks for rescue. Kim said that he was “certain” people were trapped as water filled the ship ABC News reports.
According to NPR, the ferry held about 470 people, far below the capacity of 900 passengers. The South Korean Coast Guard was able to rescue 164 people before the ship sank. Authorities fear that the death toll will increase as time goes on; humans can only withstand the 50 degree water for about an hour and a half before hypothermia sets in.
Publication date: April 16, 2014