No Air Pockets Found On Ferry; Hope For Survivors Fades

Divers have searched the third and fourth floors of the sunken ferry Sewol and reported no air pockets remain. The confirmed death toll stands at 150.
Posted at 10:46 AM, Apr 23, 2014

What little hope families had that their children might be pulled from the sunken ferry in South Korea has faded. Divers checked two of the main floors where rescue crews hoped to find some sign of life.

BILL NEELY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: "The head of the civilian dive team says the ship is completely flooded. He says there are no air pockets. There are no survivors."

BBC reports around 700 divers are on site helping with the search effort, and they attempted searching the third and fourth levels of the sunken ferry Sewol hoping to find air pockets.

Wednesday morning, the confirmed death toll had climbed to 150 with 152 more still missing and presumably dead. Arirang reports nearly 90 percent of the missing were high school students on a field trip when the ship went down.

JI MYUNG-KIL, ARIRANG CORRESPONDENT: "Families burst out in tears as they saw their loved ones' names. ... Many are just sitting by the water with blank faces, and one mother was wailing out to the open sea telling her child to come back."

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "They knew that something was wrong with the ship. We know that there were students in that cafeteria, Brooke, who were making calls to emergency services before the ship even reported its official distress call."

There are now reports a cell phone call traced to the ship's location was made three minutes before the ship put out a distress call. Despite the voice — described as sounding like a boy's — saying they thought something was wrong, officials have said the ferry's crew told students to stay put as the ship listed.

However, several of those crew members are now under investigation for being among the first to flee the sinking ship. To this point, no survivors have reported hearing orders to evacuate or abandon ship. (Via Euronews)

A sociology professor at Korea University told The New York Times"The saddest thing about this disaster is that the young students did as the adults told them to, but the adults abandoned them in a crisis and the system didn't save them."

The South Korean president has called the crew's conduct "akin to murder," and CNN reports the captain and at least 10 crew members have been arrested so far.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported prosecutors raided the offices of Sewol's operator and the owner's home as part of their probe into what caused the disaster.

The New York Times reports families have been allowed to claim bodies if they're certain it's their child as long as they promise not to bury them pending DNA confirmation. However, that policy has already resulted in at least one body being claimed by the wrong family.