Published On: Thu, Apr 24th, 2014

South Korea ferry death toll reaches 156 as rescue teams struggle to find the missing

Rescue crews and search teams are still hopeful that surviving victims can be found after the South Korean ferry disaster on Wednesday. Rescue teams were now ripping into the cabin walls, pulling bodies from within.

The government has warned against using cranes and such to pull up the vessel as it (or could) eliminate air bubbles for survivors. The latest tally puts the death toll at 156, with 150 still missing, according to CBS News.

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

“The lounge is one big open space, so once in it, we got our search done right away. But in the case of the cabins, we will have to break down the walls in between because they are all compartments,” Search and rescue spokesman Koh Myung-seok said.

The majority of the fatalities were high school students. Of the 323 students who were on board the ship, over 75 percent are dead or missing.

“Now we think we have to deal with this realistically,” said Pyun Yong-gi, whose 17-year-old daughter is among the missing.

“We don’t want the bodies to decay further, so we want them to pull out the bodies as quickly as they can,” Pyun said on Jindo island, where recovered bodies are taken for families to identify.

That view is not shared among all relatives of the missing, however. One of them, Jang Jong-ryul, was sensitive about the mere mention of the word “salvage” and said most families don’t want to think about it.

Authorities are also  investigating what caused the ship to capsize. Senior prosecutor Ahn Sang-don said that there is a list of possibilities, including the 45 degree turn the ferry made before it started to tilt.

Third mate Park Han-gyeol said he was instructed to make a 5 degree turn, but the steering gear turned to far and he could not correct it.

Eleven of the 22 surviving crew members have been arrested or detained pending further investigation.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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