[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

S Korea ferry crew forced to explain actions

Crew members, paraded in front of TV cameras, say they did their best to launch life rafts and hint at structural flaws.

Last updated: 22 Apr 2014 11:50
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Crew members detained over South Korea's ferry disaster have said  they had done their best to launch life rafts, and one suggested possible technical reasons for the ship capsizing.

The four crew members were taken into police custody on Monday, and were paraded, heads bowed and hiding their faces, before TV cameras on Tuesday.

"We tried to gain access to the rafts but the whole ship was already tilted too much", one crew member said when asked why only one of the Sewol's 46 life rafts had been used. 

"We tried to launch the life rafts but it was hard to get to where they were," another said.

The 6,825-tonne Sewol had 29 crew, including its captain Lee Jeon-Sook.

Twenty of them escaped the ferry as it sank last Wednesday morning, and there has been public outrage at reports they were among the first to evacuate while hundreds remained trapped in the vessel.

One crew member, apparently an officer, suggested the ferry had a structural flaw that made it difficult to regain equilibrium once it had been lost.

The ship was built in 1994 in Japan and purchased by the Cheonghaejin Marine Company in 2012.

The officer also mentioned "some errors" with the steering system. The Sewol capsized after making a sharp right turn.

This led experts to suggest its cargo manifest might have shifted, causing it to list beyond a critical point of return.

Lee and two crew members were arrested over the weekend and charged with criminal negligence, before the arrests on Monday. 

The official death toll stood at 108 Tuesday, with 194 still missing. Most of the passengers were high school students on a holiday trip.  

271

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.