South Korea ferry death toll passes 100

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The confirmed death toll from recent ferry tragedy in South Korea has surpassed 100, with nearly 200 people still missing, as divers continue to recover more bodies from the sunken vessel.

The official toll provided by South Korea’s Coast Guard stood at 104 on Tuesday morning, with 198 unaccounted for after nearly a week into the rescue and recovery effort.

A South Korean Coast Guard official said divers were to focus operation on accessing the ferry’s main dining hall, as they believe “many bodies there as the accident took place in the morning when students must have been eating breakfast.”

The vessel, Sewol, was carrying 476 people, including 352 school children, when it capsized and sank on April 16 during a journey from Incheon in the northwest to the southern island of Jindo. Only 174 people were rescued.

The vessel’s captain, Lee Joon-seok, was arrested on April 16 on charges of negligence and failing to secure the safety of passengers. Six members of his crew have also been taken into custody.

Lee has defended his decision to wait before ordering an evacuation, which survivors say came with a 30-minute delay.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said that the actions of the captain and members of the crew were akin to murder.

In a meeting with the families of the victims of the capsized ferry, Park said it was clear Lee had unnecessarily delayed the evacuation of passengers as the ferry started sinking and then deserted them by escaping first.

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