At least nine people are dead and more than 280 are still missing Thursday, more than 24 hours after a ferry carrying more than 470 people sank off South Korea’s southern coast Wednesday, leading to a major rescue operation in search for survivors.
The coast guard and navy divers were scouring an area about 12 miles off the country’s southwestern coast, in search of hundreds of missing people, most of them students, en route to Jeju island, about 60 miles south of the Korean peninsula. As search efforts continue, many fear that the missing passengers may be trapped inside the vessel.
According to Arirang, a local TV network, three foreigners were on board and the ministry of security and public administration said in a press briefing that two Filipinos were rescued.
"I am really angry with the government," Kwak Hyun-ok, whose daughter was one among the children on the vessel, told Reuters. “There is no meaning to life without my daughter," Kwak reportedly said.
The South Korean government reportedly said that three cranes were being moved to the site of the accident and are expected to reach the location on Friday, while efforts to look for survivors on the vessel, which include 555 scuba divers, along with 169 ships and 29 aircraft, continue.
The reason behind the sinking of the ferry, Sewol, measuring 480 feet in length and weighing 6,586 gross tons, is yet to be determined.