SEOUL, South Korea — A drastic change in course was the main cause of last month’s ferry sinking off South Korea’s southwest coast, which left more than 300 people dead or missing, investigators said today. As of today, 281 people, mostly high school students on a field trip, were confirmed dead with 23 others still missing.
While passing through a narrow channel off the southwestern island of Jindo on April 16, the 6,825-ton ferry Sewol made a sharp turn at a 15-degree angle before tilting and capsizing, a team of police and prosecution officials said, announcing the interim results of their investigation.
Cargo overloading and a lack of water in the ballast tanks also made the ferry unable to recover its balance from the sharp veering, the team added.
Investigators also said they decided to bring charges of murder against the captain and three crew members for abandoning the sinking ship without trying to evacuate hundreds of passengers.
An investigator who asked not to be named said the captain and other crew members were well aware that the ferry Sewol would need much more time to come back to its balance due to problems in its ability to recover. He added that because of that fact, (crew members) received orders not to make a drastic turn.
Additionally, a progressive teachers’ union called on President Park Geun-hye today to assume responsibility for last month’s deadly ferry sinking amid growing public anger over the government’s poor handling of the accident.
The Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU) said in a statement that the president should confess her failure to fulfill her duty and take responsibility and that the president must regain public trust in the government via thorough efforts to find the truth about the incident and punish those responsible.
The union said the president should resign if she cannot do this work properly. ‘A president with no intention and ability to save people’s lives has no reason to stay,’ a statement said today.
Public anger has grown over the government’s slow and incompetent response to and handling of one of the country’s worst maritime accidents to date. The disaster also revealed serious lapses in the government’s oversight of safety practices.
Source: Busan eFM News