South Korea ferry: Powerful images show dramatic rescue operation as search continues for 290 still missing

Nine people have been confirmed dead after the ferry carrying more than 470 people, many of them high school students, capsized in South Korea

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The Independent Online

The rescue operation to save those trapped on the South Korea ferry after it capsized with over 470 passengers on board continues, as relatives anxiously wait for news of the 290 people still missing.

Teams of divers fought rising winds, strong waves and murky waters through the night to locate those missing after the MV Sewol sank off the south-western coast of South Korea.

Some 325 school children from the Danwon High School in Ansan, a Seoul suburb, were among the passengers on board the vessel, which was heading to the popular tourist island of Jeju.

Devastated parents have gathered at a gymnasium on the nearby island of Jindo as the search enters its second day.

Their harrowing wait for news of their loved ones has been documented in pictures showing the relief of those finding their names on a list of survivors, and the heartbreak of others whose children are still missing.


The dramatic rescue operation began two hours after the ship started listing severely and the ferry filled with water. Several survivors said passengers were told to remain where they were by on board announcements.

Cha Eun-ok, who was on the deck taking photographs at the time, said an “on-board announcement told people to stay put... people who stayed are trapped”.

The exact cause of the incident has not yet been established. The captain of the Sewol ferry is currently being questioned by police. "I am really sorry and deeply ashamed. I don't know what to say," he was shown as saying on local television.