South Korean Ferry Sinks; Nearly 300 Missing

At least two people are dead and hundreds still missing after a ferry carrying more than 450 people capsized off the South Korean coast.
Posted at 9:34 AM, Apr 16, 2014

At least two people are dead and hundreds still missing after a ferry carrying more than 450 people capsized off the South Korean coast. More than half of the people on board were high school students.

"There was an announcement telling us to sit still, but the ferry was already sinking. Some of the students were not able to escape."

"Even specially trained soldiers will have a hard time if they get stranded at sea." (Via BBC)

The rescue effort which involves more than 30 ships and 18 helicopters has been going for hours with some success. According to NBC, 164 people who were on the ship have been confirmed rescued, but that still leaves almost 300 people missing.  

"People on board said they heard a bump, sounds like they must have hit something. The water here is very well charted and very deep, so that's unusual." (Via CNN)

The big problem for potential survivors who have yet to be rescued is the temperature of the water in Yellow Sea. ABC reports the water temperature is about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is "cold enough to cause signs of hypothermia after about 90 minutes or 2 hours."

The New York Times points out two South Korean ferry disasters similar to this one occurred back in the 1990's. In 1994, a tourist ferry caught fire killing 30 people, and in 1993, 292 people died when an overloaded ferry sank.

The ferry was on the last leg of a 14-hour trip from the port of Incheon near Seoul to the southern island Jeju. Dozens of parents have gathered at the school in Seoul waiting for information.