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Death toll surges to 113 in S.Korean ferry sinking accident

English.news.cn   2014-04-22 20:03:10

JINDO, South Korea, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Death toll in the South Korean ferry sinking accident surged on Tuesday night to 113 as divers were intensively searching inside the submerged hull.

So far, 113 people have been confirmed dead, and 189 others were still missing. The number of the rescued was changed at 174. Seven days into the search, no survivors or survival signals have been reported yet.

Koh Myung-seok, spokesman of the pan-government response center, said earlier that the number of passengers on board the vessel could be changed in accordance with search and rescue operations, noting the figure would be flexible.

Asked whether it was not a fixed number, he said it was not a final figure, indicating readings for the missing can be revised.

Koh cited some variables such as the incorrect list of passengers submitted by the ship's operator and unregistered passengers with a vehicle.

Under local regulations, passengers with a vehicle are allowed to board the ship by registering their plate number.

Touching on the three foreign bodies, which were retrieved on Monday night, the spokesman said the authorities informed the Chinese embassy of the two bodies being Chinese men, but he said that the third body, which was earlier known to be a Russian school girl, had yet to be confirmed.

The 6,825t-ton ferry Sewol capsized and sank off Jindo Island, a southwestern tip of South Korea, on Wednesday, carrying 476 people, including 325 Danwon High School students and 14 teachers.

Among the 325 teenagers, 71 have been confirmed dead, 75 students were saved, and 179 others were still missing. Three teachers were dead, three were rescued and eight remain missing.

The tax authorities launched a special inspection into families of the ferry's owner on Tuesday, raiding offices of the operator and its affiliates. The tax agency reportedly planned to investigate into documents and computers seized for possible tax evasion and slush funds.

Editor: Shen Qing
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