[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
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The new military government has issued warnings that it will soon start to clampdown on immigration offenders.
As Snowden awaits Russian visa renewal, the world mulls role of NSA and expects more revelations from document trove.
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
join our mailing list