News / Asia

Transcripts Show Confusion Over S. Korean Ferry Evacuation

A family member of a missing passenger who was on the capsized Sewol ferry, looks out to the sea from the port where family members of missing passengers have gathered, in Jindo April 20, 2014.
A family member of a missing passenger who was on the capsized Sewol ferry, looks out to the sea from the port where family members of missing passengers have gathered, in Jindo April 20, 2014.
VOA News
Divers continue to pull bodies from the sunken South Korean ferryboat, as authorities widened their inquiry and released transcripts capturing the confusion as the ship capsized five days ago.
 
The recovery operation, involving hundreds of divers, ships and aircraft, brought the total death toll to 58 Sunday, with 246 still unaccounted for.  Most of the victims are high school students.
 
Marine traffic control transcripts, released Sunday, showed that the crew was hesitant to order passengers to abandon ship.
 
The captain, Lee Jun-seok, has said he did not order an immediate evacuation because he feared the passengers would be in danger from the strong currents and the cold water, which is about 10 degrees Celsius. Lee was one of the first to leave the ferry.
 
According to the transcript, Jindo Vessel Traffic Services instructed the crew to get passengers off the boat as other boats rushed to save them after the ferry carrying 476 people began to capsize.
 
But crew members told traffic controllers that their attempts to order an evacuation were stymied by a faulty announcement system.
 
Tracking data shows the ship took a sharp turn while navigating a group of small islands off South Korea's southwestern coast.
 
There are 174 known survivors, with no one rescued since Wednesday.  
 
South Korean prosecutors say the ferry was being steered by a 26-year-old third mate who was navigating the area for the first time.
 
Authorities have confirmed that the ship's captain was in his quarters, leaving the inexperienced third mate at the helm. 
 
The captain, the third mate and one other crew member were arrested Saturday on charges of deserting their passengers as the ferry was sinking.
 
Authorities have not established the cause of the disaster, but some survivors report hearing a loud impact noise before the vessel tilted and began sinking.
 
On Friday, Yonhap quoted investigators as saying the ferry's sudden turn may have caused 180 vehicles and nearly 1,200 tons of freight to shift, causing the vessel to tilt to one side.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid