Hundreds still missing in deadly Korea ferry sinking

Hundreds still missing in deadly Korea ferry sinking
Members of the South Korean coast guard rescue passengers from the water next to the partially sunken ferry.

JINDO, South Korea - South Korean coastguard and navy divers resumed searching on Thursday for about 290 people still missing, many of them students from the same high school, after a ferry capsized in sight of land.

Grieving family members gathered on the quay of the coastal city of Jindo, huddled in blankets against the spring cold as efforts to locate the missing went into a second day.

One parent, Park Yung-suk, told Reuters she had seen the body of her teenage daughter's teacher brought ashore earlier in the morning.

"If I could teach myself to dive, I would jump in the water and try to find my daughter," Park said as light rain fell.

Of some 450 passengers on board the ferry when it set sail from the port of Incheon late on Tuesday, nearly 340 were teenagers and teachers from the Danwon school near the capital Seoul on a field trip to Jeju island, about 100 km (60 miles) south of the Korean peninsula.

So far 179 people have been rescued and six confirmed dead in what could be the country's worst maritime accident in 20 years.

As coastguard officials arrived at Jindo on Thursday, waiting relatives jeered at them, shouting: "The weather's nice, why aren't you starting the rescue."

It is not known why the 6,586 tonne vessel, built in Japan 20 years ago, sank.

As frustration grew with the lack of information, some parents of missing school children hired their own boat on Wednesday night. They appeared to blame the government of President Park Geun-hye and rescue officials for not making a big enough effort.

"Since the government refused to take us to the scene 11 parents chipped in 61,000 won (S$73.20) each to hire a boat and took a reporter and a diver. But there was no rescue operation going on," said one father who declined to give his name.

"I am extremely angry. Media is saying the rescue op is still going on. It's all a lie," he said.

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