This photo taken on April 16, 2014 shows South Korea Coast Guard members searching near a South Korean ferry after it capsized on its way to Jeju island from Incheon. A passenger ship with 477 people aboard, mostly high school students, sank in waters off South Korea's southwest coast Wednesday morning, leaving at least two dead and 107 others missing, local media reported. (Xinhua/NEWSIS)
SEOUL, April 16 (Xinhua) -- A passenger ship with 477 people aboard, mostly high school students, sank in waters off South Korea's southwest coast Wednesday morning, leaving at least two dead and 107 others missing, local media reported.
The 6,325-ton passenger ship "SEWOL" was capsized and sank down into waters off the Jindo Island, just off the southwest corner of the Korean Peninsula, at around 11:30 a.m. local time Wednesday.
The ferry, which was carrying 453 passengers and 24 crew members, sent out a distress signal at about 8:55 a.m. and had floated in the waters for some two and a half hours with its body being on the careen.
The vessel was believed to run aground in the waters as some rescued passengers said the ship began to careen to the port side after making a banging sound on the bow.
The ferry went off the pre-arranged sea route as it departed some two and a half hours later than scheduled due to a thick fog.
The Coast Guard was quoted as saying that a 22-year-old female crew member and a high school male student have been found dead.
A total of 368 people were confirmed rescued as of 2 p.m. local time, Lee Kyung-ok, vice minister of Security and Public Administration Ministry, told reporters.
The vice minister said 350 more rescuers were dispatched to the scene to help search for the 107 missing people, who were feared to be trapped inside the sunken vessel.
The 453 passengers on board included 324 high school students and 14 teachers who had been on the way for a school journey.
The ship departed from South Korea's western port city of Incheon Tuesday night, heading for the southern resort island of Jeju.
After receiving the distress signal, the South Korean authorities, including police, firehouse, coast guard and navy, dispatched 24 rescue ships and scrambled 16 helicopters to the scene for rescue operations.
There was no Chinese passenger on board the vessel, according to the Chinese Embassy in South Korea.
BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhuanet) -- There are reports from South Korea that a passenger ship, carrying up to around 450 people, has sent a distress signal to coastguards.
The ship is off the coast of Jindo Island, which lies southwest of the South Korean mainland. Many of the passengers are thought to be students on their way to Jeju island for a school trip. Full story