S Korea ferry disaster: Diver blasts 'lack of state effort' in rescue operation

S Korea ferry disaster: Diver blasts 'lack of state effort' in rescue operation
A vessel involved in salvage operations passes near the upturned South Korean ferry "Sewol" in the sea off Jindo on April 17, 2014.

SOUTH KOREA - A civilian diver claimed Friday that the government is not providing sufficient equipment and boats needed for search-and-rescue operations of sunken ferry Sewol.

Hong Ga-hye, who arrived late Thursday to participate in the operation, told the media the authorities are stopping the divers from entering the waters. She said that contrary to the recent reports, cooperation between the government and the volunteers have been nonexistent.

"Other divers told me that the Coast Guard told them to 'just kill time.' Other officials told the families of the missing people that there are no hopes or miracles," she said.

The diver also claimed some civilian divers communicated with survivors inside the ship.

Hong's comments were not confirmed, as she admitted that she was unable to participate in the operations herself, allegedly because of orders from the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard issued a public statement denying Hong's claims about "kill time" comments. It added that it received no reports on survivors inside the ship.

A joint investigation team of prosecutors and police said they will look into Hong's claims that the government is forbidding the civilian divers from participating in the operation.

After Hong's comments stirred controversy, local broadcaster MBN, which aired the interview, issued a public apology later in the day. It said Hong's claims about the Coast Guard blocking civilian divers from search operation were false.

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