South Korea’s government said 284 people are missing after a ferry carrying hundreds of high school students sank en route to the resort island of Jeju, in what may be the nation’s worst ferry accident in two decades.
South Korean coastguards and navy divers resumed their search on Thursday. They will be also be seeking answers to many unanswered questions surrounding Wednesday’s accident, notably what caused the Sewol vessel to list and then flip over entirely, leaving only a small section of its hull above water.
The 6,825-ton ferry, was sailing from Incheon, a port west of Seoul, to the resort island Jeju, which is 60 miles off the south coast of South Korea, on Wednesday morning when it sent a distress signal.
The vessel was carrying 477 passengers and crew, including 325 high school students.
At least four people, including a student, died in the accident. Of the 477 on board, 174 have been rescued including 75 students and two teachers.
But the office of education in Gyeonggi Province, where the student’s high school is, reported that all students and their teachers had been rescued.
Coast guard and navy ships, along with fishing boats, rushed to the scene. South Korean television showed coast guard helicopters pulling passengers off the badly tilting vessel.
The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.