Divers search South Korea ferry as hopes fade for hundreds missing

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Divers search South Korea ferry as hopes fade for hundreds missing

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Divers have begun searching the largely submerged wreck of a ferry that sank off South Korea killing at least 4 people.

The passengers who managed to scramble to rescue craft from the Sewol were the lucky ones.

Almost 300 people are still missing, and with every passing hour their chances of survival fade.

Fishing boats joined in the emergency operation led by the coast guard. But in the end only 164 were rescued. Most of those on board were high school students on a trip to Jeju island in the south.

It is still not clear what caused the ship to go down in calm waters. Some survivors report feeling an impact just before it listed and capsized.

Passengers were apparently told to stay put. One young male survivor told reporters: “There was an announcement telling us to sit still in the ferry, but it was already sinking. Some of the students were not able to escape.”

The ferry had set out from near Seoul on Wednesday and was approaching its destination when it sank off Jindo in the south of the country.

It is there that shocked survivors are being accommodated. Relatives are also gathering in the southern port, desperately hoping that this will not, as is feared, turn out to be South Korea’s worst maritime disaster in over 20 years.

Dramatic rescue up close: Sinking S. Korea ferry