The confirmed death toll in South Korea’s ferry disaster crossed 100 on Tuesday, but almost twice that number remained unaccounted for nearly a week into the rescue and recovery effort.
The official toll provided by the coastguard stood at 104, with 198 still missing. The 6,825-tonne Sewol was carrying 476 people, most of them schoolchildren, when it capsized and sank last Wednesday.
Some 174 people, including the captain and most of his crew, were rescued.
The expected final death toll of around 300 would make this one of South Korea’s worst peacetime disasters., AFP reports
A Seoul department store collapsed in 1995, killing more than 500 people, while nearly 300 people died when a ferry capsized off the west coast in 1993.
Russian Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov is ready to assist South Korea in the search-and-rescue operation evolving on the site of the April 16 ferry wreck in the Yellow Sea.
“We sympathize with the people of the Republic of Korea and are ready to render comprehensive support to the victims. The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry can assign specialized diving equipment and proficient divers at any minute,” a report posted on the ministry website quoted Puchkov as saying.
The minister extended his condolences to the South Korean government over the ferry sinking.
“We mourn the missing people together with their families and hope that the efforts of search-and-rescue units will bear fruit,” Puchkov said.
The ferry Sewol sank off the southwestern coast of South Korea on April 16. According to the latest updates, the death toll has grown to 64 and 238 passengers are missing. There were 476 people, mostly high school students going to a seaside resort, aboard the ferry at the moment of the wreck. Search-and-rescue operations continue on the wreck site.