#AceNewsServices – SEOUL/SOUTH KOREA – April 21 – The death toll in the South Korean ferry disaster has risen to 64, after divers entered the vessel and discovered more than a dozen bodies. Almost 240 people, mostly high school students, remain unaccounted for.
Rescue divers were finally able to get inside the ferry after numerous failed attempts, media quoted officials as saying. Strong currents and poor visibility made it difficult for the search and rescue operation to take place.
The ferry capsized on Wednesday while on its way from Incheon, in the north-west, to the southern resort island of Jeju. It was carrying over 400 people. Rescuers managed to save 179 passengers.
Four more crew-members from a sunken ferry have been detained on allegations of failing to protect passengers, South Korean Senior Prosecutor Ahn Sang-don told reporters Monday. Among arrested are two first mates, one second mate and a chief engineer.
They have been accused of abandoning the ship. As under the law South Koreans can only be detained for 48 hours without a court-issued formal arrest warrant. The prosecution is now considering whether to ask a court for a formal arrest warrant that would extend their detention.
The recent arrests come after the ferry’s captain along with and two other crew-members were formally arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need.