Transcript Reveals Confusion Over Ferry Evacuation
Divers finally have found a way into the ferry that sunk off South Korea's southern shore and begun the grim task of recovering bodies. South Korea's coast guard says more than a dozen bodies have been found inside and more floating outside, pushing the confirmed death toll to 50. Among the dead, 23 are students.
Meanwhile, a transcript of communications with the South Korean ferry details crippling confusion and indecision, with a crew member questioning whether an evacuation was the right move well after the ship began listing dangerously.
"If this ferry evacuates passengers, will they be rescued right away?" the ferry Sewol asked Jindo Vessel Traffic Services Center (VTS) at 9:24 a.m. Wednesday, about a half-hour after the ship began listing. That followed several statements from the ship, beginning at 9 a.m., that people aboard couldn't move, and another in which the ship said it was "impossible to broadcast" instructions.
VTS told the Sewol that patrol boats would arrive in 10 minutes, but didn't mention that another civilian ship said 10 minutes earlier that it would rescue anyone who went overboard.
Divers have found a way inside the ship and begun to recover bodies, pushing the death toll past 50. About 250 people remain missing and only 174 are known to have survived.