World News

    3 Dead, 290 Missing After South Korea Ferry Sinks

    South Korean officials say three people are dead and at least 290 missing after a ferry sank off the country's southern coast Wednesday.

    The boat was carrying more than 459 people, mostly students, to the resort island of Jeju when it sank in what appeared to be calm conditions.

    Many are feared to be trapped inside the submerged ship or stranded in the surrounding waters, which were only 12 degrees Celsius.

    Dozens of helicopters and ships, including a U.S. Navy amphibious assault vessel, are involved in the massive search and rescue effort.

    South Korean Navy SEALs are searching the sunken vessel, but officials warn that those trapped inside may not have survived.

    Survivors were taken to the nearby island of Jindo. Kim Tae-young, a student, said he acted quickly when the ship started to lean.



    "I held a handrail and moved toward the right side of the ferry to ride a helicopter as water kept coming in," he said.

    "Water kept coming in?"



    "Yes, trash cans were floating and water came up to my neck."



    Many of the passengers said they were initially told to stay in their seats and not try to escape. Yoo Ho-shil said when he felt the ferry began to list, he knew he had to act.



    ''No, I could see it. I felt in my bones that I had to escape when I saw water was flooding an aisle next to a cabin.``



    Most of the passengers were high school students headed to Jeju island on a school outing.



    The students attend a school in Ansan, near Seoul. Classes were dismissed Wednesday as anxious parents gathered, waiting for news about their children.

    Park Sung-ho is a father of one of the students.



    "I can't even describe how I feel now. I was super nervous. Even specially trained soldiers will have a hard time if they get stranded at sea. Then what a shock it must be to those kids? I'm sure it must have felt devastating. It's even worse for the parents."



    South Korean television broadcast images of the ship, as it slowly turned perpendicular to the sea before disappearing beneath the surface.

    The 146-meter-long ferry departed late Tuesday from the western port of Incheon. It sank about 20 kilometers off the island of Byungpoong.

    The reason for the incident is not clear. Some passengers reported hearing a loud noise before the ferry started sinking.

    Heavy fog was reported in the area on Tuesday evening, but it is not known whether this contributed to the sinking.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora