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Divers recover more bodies in South Korean ferry

By Jung-Yoon Choi
May. 5, 2014 5:55 AM EDT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Divers helped by better weather and easing ocean currents retrieved 12 passengers' bodies from the sunken South Korean ferry Monday, raising the death toll to 260 with 42 people still missing.

Investigators also have made their first formal arrests of people who were not on board the Sewol when it sank April 16. The three employees are suspected of negligence in their handling of cargo on the vessel.

Monday is a South Korean holiday, Children's Day, but various events were canceled or postponed because of the ferry's sinking. The Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, run by the Seoul city office, canceled a handful of outdoor events and music festivals on the holiday.

As of Sunday 1.1 million people had paid respects at 131 memorial altars around the nation, according to a governmental funeral support committee set up for the ferry victims.

The Sewol carried 476 people, most of them students from a single high school. Only 174 survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members.

In searching for the missing, divers were working their way into the last three unopened rooms, next to a snack bar on the ferry's third floor, a spokesman for the emergency task force, Ko Myung-seok, told reporters.

Ko earlier said that the search team does not expect to find many bodies in those rooms as they were not assigned to the high school students who made up most of the ferry's passengers. The divers will revisit areas searched earlier, while checking other areas such as bathrooms on each floor, looking for more of the victims. Darkness, floating debris and the maze of corridors and cabins onboard have made the search difficult.

Meanwhile, the joint investigation team probing the cause of the sinking formally arrested employees of the ferry owner Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd. on suspicion of negligence. Prosecutor Yang Jung-jin said three employees who handled cargo were formally arrested on Friday and on Sunday, while an executive of the company was detained.

In all 19 people have been arrested in the investigation, 15 of them crew members accused of abandoning passengers. An executive with ties to Chonghaejin was arrested on suspicion of malpractice related to company finances.

Improper stowage and overloading of cargo is suspected as a possible reason the ferry sank. The ferry was carrying an estimated 3,608 tons of cargo, more than three times what it could safely carry. A ferry loaded too heavily could lose its balance making even a small turn.

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positivegazer May 05 2014 at 7:06 AM

That is horrible, I am so sorry for your people in South Korea.

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gmasterman May 05 2014 at 9:16 AM

What's with the dust masks? Is the air that bad wherever the protester are? Or are they trying to hide their faces?

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2 replies
Martha gmasterman May 05 2014 at 2:12 PM

dead bodies stink.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Debicka... gmasterman May 05 2014 at 2:42 PM

In Korea in the spring there is a huge dust / pollen that is everywhere so everyone wears the masks not to be breathing it in. Granted people also wear masks for polution but I do not believe that is the case here and given they still have not found the remaining bodies as of yet I do not think it's a matter of smell.

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markdigiorgio May 05 2014 at 9:17 AM

"three employees who handled cargo were formally arrested on Friday and on Sunday, while an executive of the company was detained." The OFFICIALS must be arrested. The poor workers were doing only as they were told. It was the higher ups that had the ultimate decision whether to overload the ship or not. This is typical -- the company officials are "{detained" and the loaders are arrested.

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1 reply
ycplum markdigiorgio May 05 2014 at 1:14 PM

The cargo handlers were arrested because there was obvious and direct evidence them commiting a crime. There are no direct evidence of criminal actions by the corporate officers .... YET.

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setec5354 May 05 2014 at 9:24 AM

19 arrested and looking at 302 dead,each of the arrested has killed 16 passengers for their corruptness and negligent!!!! They should not be put to death but should be forced to hard labor and pay each family that suffer the loss of love ones indefinite compensation! That Ferry company should fire everyone and rehire new employee and use every profit to pay each family who loss love one an indefinite compensation!!!!

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3 replies
Joan May 05 2014 at 9:54 AM

the oldest story on the books....greed......this tradgedy could have been avoided. God help the familiesw

Flag Reply +6 rate up
spldrtnbrt May 05 2014 at 10:27 AM

It seems like the asian contries get alot of attention when a plane goes missing a ferry crashes who knows they cna be making it up just to get some attention.

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6 replies
pftaylor May 05 2014 at 11:14 AM


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bigcatdaddy May 05 2014 at 12:17 PM

The ferry was carrying an estimated 3,608 tons of cargo, more than three times what it could safely carry


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1 reply
rjackson2a bigcatdaddy May 05 2014 at 12:31 PM

There is something wrong with that number. 3,608 tons is only 7,216 pounds. The approximate weight of two full sized automobiles.

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16 replies
flcajunbear May 05 2014 at 1:13 PM

mr jackson....obviously math isnt one of your strong points. 3608 tons is 7,216,000 lbs.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
alephnulldeltapi May 05 2014 at 1:56 PM

It maybe an accurate number. They weren't very clear in the article of the boat specifications. The following boats put in use as the Staten Island Ferry, The MV John F. Kennedy, the MV American Legion, and the MV Governor Herbert H. Lehman, known as the “Kennedy class”, built 1965. Each boat can carry 3,500 passengers and up to 40 vehicles, is 297 feet (91 m) long, 69 feet, 10 inches (21.3 m) wide, with a draft of 13 feet, 6 inches (4.1 m), tonnage of 2,109 gross tons, service speed of 16 knots (30 km/h), and engines of 6,500 horsepower (4.8 MW). The American Legion was retired after 40 years of service with the acquisition of the Molinari class ferries. The Herbert H. Lehman retired on June 30, 2007, after the 10:30 p.m. run from Whitehall Street to St. George.The John F. Kennedy remains in regular service. Info compliments of Wikipedia.

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