South Korea ferry disaster: Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigns over 'deep-rooted evils' that caused hundreds of deaths

PM Chung Hong-won apologises for handling of situation as 115 passengers still missing

The South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won has resigned over the government’s response to the ferry disaster, in which more than 300 people have died or are missing presumed dead.

The South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won has resigned over the government’s response to the ferry disaster, in which more than 300 people have died or are missing presumed dead.

Mr Chung apologised on behalf of the government for “many problems from the prevention of the accident to the early handling” of the disaster.

He said: “Through this accident I have bitterly felt that there have been so many varieties of irregularities that have continued in every corner of our society and practices that have gone wrong.

“I hope these deep-rooted evils get corrected this time and that this kind of accident never happens again,” he said.

There are still 115 passengers yet to be found while the death toll stands at 187 after the Sewol ferry sank on 16 April.

The ferry was taking a routine trip from the port of Incheon to the holiday island of Jeju, with a total of 476 people on board, the majority of which were students and teachers.

 

Diving crews yesterday found a group of 48 bodies wearing lifejackets crammed into a single large room built to accommodate 38 people.  

On Saturday it was revealed that all the crew members involved in the navigation of the Sewol ferry have now been detained as part of the investigation into the disaster. The four people held yesterday takes the total number of crew members in custody to 15, accused of negligence and of failing to help passengers in need.

The Prime Minister’s resignation has been accepted and approved by South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, though her spokesperson said Mr Chung would remain in his position until the rescue operation has been completed.

The government has repeatedly faced criticism for its handling of the rescue operation, which has seen some bodies misidentified and reports of bodies going to the wrong families. The government has announced changes to prevent such mistakes happening again, with DNA testing, finger print matches or dental records now being used to identify people before being transferred to families.

Mr Chung was booed by the families he visited the day after the disaster and one person threw a bottle at him.

There are 93 divers expected to take place in today’s rescue operation, though a coastguard spokesman has warned that heavy seas and strong winds are complicating efforts to recover more bodies.

The spokesman said: “The situation is very difficult due to the weather, but we are continuing search efforts, using the occasional calmer periods.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Night job: Pacha nightclub DJ, Joan Ribas, is the new kingmaker on the island
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada