UPDATE: 2:13 p.m. Thursday local time: Ship Captain Apologizes, Under Investigation
UPDATE: 10:30 a.m. Thursday local time: 8 Confirmed Dead, 288 Still Missing
BUSAN, South Korea – Interviews with passengers immediately following the tragic ferry sinking off the southwest coast of South Korea earlier today, reveal that an announcement was made telling all passengers to remain in their seats –even as the ship was taking on water.
One student told reporters:
‘The announcement told us that we should stay still, but the ship was already sinking and there were lots of students who didn’t get out of the ship.’
Yonhap news also quoted a 57-year-old passenger, identified only by his last name Yoo, as confirming the announcement.
‘The internal broadcast advised us to remain in our seats,’ said Yoo. ‘But I could not stay put because the water was coming up. So I came outside with my life jacket on.’
‘I wonder why they didn’t tell us to evacuate immediately,’ he added.
US Navy Joins Search
The U.S. Navy announced that the Seventh Fleet has dispatched the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, which has helicopters on board. It was on a routine patrol off South Korea’s west coast.