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Many missing as South Korea passenger ferry sinks

Many missing as South Korea passenger ferry sinks
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More than 300 people are still missing off the coast of South Korea after a passenger ferry sank carrying hundreds of mostly high school students.

A major rescue operation has been launched and many people have been brought ashore. Most are in good condition but at least two people are known to have died.

Navy, coastguard and other ships as well as helicopters are involved in the rescue.

It’s not known what caused the ferry to list and capsize, but one witness said there was a “loud impact and noise” before it started sinking. A distress signal was quickly sent.

The ship was sailing from the port of Incheon to the tourist island of Jeju, sometimes known as the “South Korean Hawaii”.

The students and teachers among the passengers were reportedly on a field trip.

As the ferry sank, terrified passengers in lifejackets took to lifeboats; others jumped into the water where rescuers apparently including local fishermen took them on board.

It’s not known how many people have been injured in the accident.

Elsewhere there were scenes of chaos at a school south of Seoul as desperate parents clamoured for news of their children.

It’s not cleared why the ship ran into difficulties although heavy fog had set in overnight leading to cancellations of many ferry services to the islands.

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