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​South Korean PM Resigns Over Ferry Disaster

  • VOA News

FILE - South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won at the Finnish Parliament, Helsinki, October 2013.
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won has resigned, following a public uproar over his government's response to the April 16 ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

A somber-looking Chung announced his resignation in a brief televised address Sunday morning, after bowing to a group of South Korean reporters. He said "keeping my post is too great a burden on the administration."

The 6,800-ton ferry Sewol was carrying hundreds of students and teachers on a field trip to the southwest island of Jeju when it capsized and sank.

The disaster shocked and then angered South Korea, with widespread criticism directed at the ship's crew for abandoning the vessel before an evacuation was fully under way.

Chung was booed and someone threw a water bottle at him when he visited grieving parents the day after the disaster.

In his resignation announcement, the prime minister said he wanted to quit earlier but that overseeing rescue and recovery efforts were the first priorities, and that he wanted to help before leaving office.

According to Reuters news reports, children aboard the sinking vessel were instructed to stay in their cabins and await further orders. The confirmed death toll on Sunday was 187.

Some information for this report comes from AFP and Reuters.