The government officially terminated the search for those still missing from the sunken ferry Sewol today. The announcement came some seven months after the disaster, that claimed more than 300 lives.
Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Lee Ju-young announced, as head of the pan-governmental crisis center, the end of the underwater search as of today.
As the search has continued for a long term, the chance of discovering missing people has become slim, he said, adding that rescuers have also voiced safety risks. The government decided that the underwater search has reached its limit, he also added.
Lee announced the decision after a meeting of related government ministers presided over by Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.
The minister also apologized to the families of those who are still believed trapped inside the ship, saying they have requested a halt to the search.
Lee expressed regret and sorrow for falling short of promises not to stop until the last person was found. He added that all the responsibility for failing to find the nine people lies with him.
Ending months of wrangling, rival parties passed a package of bills last Friday to allow an independent investigation into who is responsible for the accident. They also dismantled the Coast Guard, which was blamed for its poor initial rescue. Compensation for the families of the ferry victims was also granted.
Source: Busan eFM News
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