South Korea President Park Guen-hye has apologised over the fatal ferry disaster. She visited a memorial to victims of her country’s worst maritime accident in 21 years and offered a silent prayer for the families of the 302 victims who died in last months sinking.
Most of the dead are children from a single year grade at the Danwon High School.
There is mounting public anger over the government’s handling of the tragedy. The prime minister has offered to resign. The president’s apology, delivered in cabinet was shown live on television: “I should apologise for being unable to prevent the accident and for the insufficiency in taking initial action. I wonder if this apology will be able to comfort those who were hurt and ease their pain, as it breaks my heart,” said Park Geun-hye.
Local media sources reported the president was heckled by angry family members at the memorial.
Officials have retrieved almost two hundred bodies from the sunken hull and the search for more is ongoing by divers.
Attention has focused on why so few passengers were evacuated and the actions of the crew. The president described the decision by some crew members to flee the ship as “like a murderous act.”