Saturday 23 September 2017

Tragic ferry raised from the seabed for probe

The sunken Sewol ferry lies sideways on a transport vessel after being raised from the seabed during the salvage operation in waters off the southern island of Jindo. Photo: GETTY
The sunken Sewol ferry lies sideways on a transport vessel after being raised from the seabed during the salvage operation in waters off the southern island of Jindo. Photo: GETTY

Kim Tong-Hyung

Salvage crews have raised the South Korean ferry that sank in 2014 on to a transport vessel, completing the most difficult part of the massive effort to bring the ship back to shore.

It will take up to two weeks to bring the Sewol, in which 304 people died, to a port 80km away so investigators can search for the remains of nine missing victims.

Most of the victims were students on a high school trip when the 6,800-ton ferry capsized on April 16, 2014, triggering national grief and soul searching about long-ignored public safety and regulatory failures.

Public outrage over what was seen as a botched rescue by the government contributed to the recent ousting of Park Geun-hye as president.

"We just got over one hump ... we are trying hard to stay calm," said Lee Geum-hee, the mother of a missing schoolgirl.

Once the ferry reaches land, it will take about a month for the ship to be cleaned and evaluated for safety.

Investigators will then enter the wreckage and begin a three-month search for the remains of the missing victims and for clues further illuminating the cause of the sinking, which has been blamed on overloaded cargo.

Irish Independent

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