World News

Search Continues for Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks

South Korean rescuers have fought strong currents and murky waters in their search for 282 people missing after a ferry capsized off the country's southern coast.

Coast guard officials say 20 people are confirmed dead, although the death toll is expected to rise sharply. A total of 179 passengers have been rescued.

It is unclear if anyone is alive inside the boat, which is almost completely submerged in water that is only 12 degrees Celsius.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday sent his condolences to the families of the victims and said he will pay tribute during a visit to that country next week.



South Korea's Minister of Security and Public Administration Kang Byung-kyu said floating cranes will attempt to lift the boat out of the water.

Families of the missing passengers are furious at the government because of what they say is the slow pace of the rescue effort.

Many of them lashed out in frustration at President Park Geun-hye during an impromptu meeting on the island of Jindo, near the crash site.

Ms. Park tried to reassure the distraught families that authorities are doing everything possible in the search and rescue mission.



"I urged those commanding the rescue work to do their best until the last moment, keeping it in mind how much the families have suffered. That was my order."



The 6,825-ton ferry Sewol departed from the port of Incheon on Tuesday night for the island of Jeju, 100 kilometers off the southwest coast.

Authorities have not established the cause of the disaster. But some survivors report hearing a loud impact noise before the vessel rolled onto its side and began sinking.

Many passengers said they were initially told to stay in their seats and not try to escape, a development that outraged many families of those missing.

The Coast Guard says it is investigating reports on whether the ship's captain, Lee Joon-seok, was among the first to abandon the vessel.



Reporter: "Is there anything you would like to say to families of those missing?"

Ferry Captain: "I am so sorry and I am ashamed. I'm at a loss for words."



Kim Young-bung, the head of the Chonghaejin Marine Company that operated the ferry, also apologized for the disaster.



"We deeply apologized to the families and I'm saying again that we're really sorry. Our company will promise that we'll do our best not to lose any more lives. We're sorry."



Among the ferry's 475 passengers were 325 students from a high school near Seoul, traveling to the popular resort island for a four-day field trip and sightseeing.

Heavy fog was reported in the area on Tuesday evening, but it is not known whether that 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs