Tuesday 23 January 2018

'The government is the killer': Families clash with police over South Korea ferry

As the death toll rises, stories of amazing heroism continue to be told from Sewol ferry survivors

The South Korean coast guard carry a victim of the sunken ferry at the site of the ferry off the coast of Jindo Island on April 20
The South Korean coast guard carry a victim of the sunken ferry at the site of the ferry off the coast of Jindo Island on April 20
Relatives of missing passengers from the sunken ferry scuffle with police as they try to go to the presidential house

Family members of missing passengers on the sunken South Korean ferry have clashed with police.

Some relatives yelled: "The government is the killer", as they tried to pass police lines.

Police had to stop nearly 100 family members attempting to cross a bridge that connects Jindo Island, where they have been camping out , to the mainland today.

Scuffles broke out when the angry family members were prevented from crossing the bridge by a wall of police and security staff.

The families wanted to reach the main island to begin a 260-mile march on the Presidential Blue House in the country's capital Seoul, claiming that they would occupy the presidential residence.

Although there is an understanding that there is little chance of there being anymore survivors, families are keen to recover bodies and are frustrated by the the lack of answers being given by authorities.

Lee Woon-geun, father of missing passenger Lee Jung-in, 17, said: "Bring me the body so that I can see the face and hug my child," shouted one woman.

"We want an answer from the person in charge about why orders are not going through and nothing is being done. They are clearly lying and kicking the responsibility to others."

After three days, divers have now entered the ferry and are beginning to recover more bodies trapped in the submerged ferry.

Yesterday, 22 more bodies were found, bringing the confirmed death toll up to 54, with 248 people still missing.

Despite the growing numbers of confirmed deaths, stories continue to emerge of remarkable examples of bravery and selflessness during the disaster.

Today it was reported that a 22-year old member of the Sewol crew gave her own life while trying to save other passengers as the boat sank on Wednesday.

According to reports, Park Ji-young  battled against the rising water to ensure other passengers, that were still in a state of shock, were able to get to safety.

Commenting on the actions, one witness told local media: "I repeatedly asked her why she did not first wear a life jacket? She said she would only get out of the ship after making sure all passengers were out."

One man reportedly managed to save the lives of 20 people when he constructed a 30ft rope out of curtains and pulled the group to safety.

Another passenger, Jeong Chawoong, 17, drowned after giving his life vest to a friend.

Jack Simpson, Independent.co.uk

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