South Korea Ferry Sinking, Fears rose Thursday for the fate of 287 passengers still missing more than 24 hours after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with water off the southern coast of South Korea.
A coast guard official said the death toll was now confirmed at nine, but that is expected to rise sharply because the missing have now spent more than a day either trapped in the ferry or in the cold seawater.
Ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea’s southern coast Wednesday
There were 475 people aboard – many of them high school students on a class trip – and frantic parents have gathered at their school near Seoul and in Mokpo in the south of the country, not far from where the ferry slipped beneath the surface until only the blue-tipped, forward edge of the keel was visible.
Divers, helicopters and boats continued their search Thursday for survivors, but the high number of people unaccounted for – possibly trapped in the ship or floating in the chilly water nearby – raised fears that the death toll could increase drastically.
A partially sunken ferry is seen off South Korea’s southwest coast in this still image from a video released by the South Korean coast guard April 16, 2014.