S. Korea Ferry Disaster: Survivor Count LoweredBy: Toni Matthews-El - May 7, 2014
Nearly a month has passed since the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry. As the nation of South Korea continues to mourn, it has been learned that government officials were wrong about the number of survivors.
This has lead to the lowering of the survivor count.
Coast guard chief Kim Suk-kyoon has said that the true number of survivors following the tragedy is 172. Prior to the statement, it had been reported that there were 174 survivors.
The survivor count error is blamed on two different mistakes: A surviving passenger had their name listed twice and incorrect information was given by one of the other passengers.
The lowering of the survivor count has been distressing to Koreans. A growing number of citizens are heavily criticizing the Korean government for their handling of the ferry’s sinking.
The anger led prime minister Chung Hong-won to resign. Though his resignation has been accepted by President Park Geun-hye, Chung has been asked to stay on for the time being.
This is the second time that government officials made erroneous claims regarding the number of persons saved from the disaster.
Within hours of Sewol’s sinking, officials claimed that 368 persons had been successfully rescued. The high number suggested that there would be few fatalities, raising the hopes of many distressed family members.
It has since been determined that 304 people are likely deceased as a result of the sinking. 269 bodies have been recovered thus far with 35 bodies unaccounted for. One diver was killed during the recovery process.
The recovery mission has been very difficult as factors that include bad weather, strong currents, and debris have interfered with the process.
Thus far all 15 crew members responsible for the ferry’s navigation have been arrested. Four persons that worked for the ship’s company and were responsible for loading cargo have also been arrested.
It’s believed that the ferry may have been overloaded on its final journey and that the additional cargo may have contributed to the ship’s sinking.
Image via Youtube