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Published On: Wed, Apr 16th, 2014

Four dead, nearly 300 missing after South Korea ferry sinks

A ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea’s southern coast on Wednesday, leaving nearly 300 people missing.

South Korea ferry disaster  photo is a screenshot of coverage by The Guardian

South Korea ferry disaster photo is a screenshot of coverage by The Guardian

Kang Byung-kyu, a government minister, said two of the dead were a female crew member and a male high school student. He said a third body was also believed to be that of a student. A coast guard officer confirmed a fourth fatality but had no immediate details about it. 

He said 164 people were rescued, of whom 55 were injured. He said 292 people were missing, likely either trapped inside the ship or floating in the ocean. 

One student, Lim Hyung-min, told broadcaster YTN after being rescued that he and other students jumped into the ocean wearing life jackets and then swam to a nearby rescue boat.

“As the ferry was shaking and tilting, we all tripped and bumped into each another,” Lim said, adding that some people were bleeding. Once he jumped, the ocean “was so cold. … I was hurrying, thinking that I wanted to live.”

The water temperature in the area was about 12 degrees Celsius, cold enough to cause signs of hypothermia after about 90 minutes or 2 hours, according to an emergency official who spoke on condition of anonymity citing department rules.

Officials said mud on the ocean floor made underwater search operations difficult.

Photo is a screenshot from video coverage by The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/apr/16/south-korea-ferry-sinks-helicopter-rescue-video

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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