Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ferry Tales Can Be Sad ~by Legal Pub

A Korean ferry sunk a week ago, as a result at least 104 are confirmed dead and perhaps another 200 missing.  .It took divers almost four days to find a way into the submerged ferry.  Meanwhile, family members pray for a miracle that would defy logic.   Logic dictates that only heartbreak awaits the families of the people still missing from the submerged ferry.  Jindo island is about an hour's boat ride away, much too far for any survivor to have swam.  Now the island serves as a temporary home for the human remains that are waiting to be identified. Approximately 250 of the more than 300 occupants of the ferry were students from a high school, near Seoul, Korea.  The teens were on their way to the tourist island of Jeju when the ferry apparently capsized.

Post accident criticism has centered on the captain and his crew.  The captain allegedly first told passengers to stay in their rooms.  Allegedly the captain waited over a half hour before giving an evacuation order.  By the time the order was given, the ferry known as the Sewol, sank into the sea. When the ship tilted, it is believed that many passengers became trapped inside their rooms. President Park Geun-hye publicly expressed his displeasure, "What the captain and part of the crew did is unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense. Unforgivable, murderous behavior." Furthermore, Captain, Lee Joon-seok, and two crew members have been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning passengers. Four other crew members have apparently been detained.

Is there a defense? Captain Lee is 68 and not inexperienced.  Lee claims he delayed issuing an evacuation order because the passengers would have drifted away in the strong current before help arrived. Even if true, why did he not order the passengers to wait on the deck?  On the deck, would they have a better chance to survive? Just how long did it take for rescuers to arrive? Legal Pub has been told that more than 200 rescue boats, 35 aircraft, and 13 fishing boats participated in the rescue efforts.  Unfortunately, their primary role has been limited to recovery of bodies.

Why the ferry sank in the first place has not been discussed.  Prosecutors have speculated that the ship made a sharp turn before it began to tilt. The third mate was steering at the time of the accident.  She apparently had not navigated in this particular area before. Captain Lee claims he was not on the bridge when the accident happened. The third mate is believed to be Park Han-gyeol; however, prosecutors have yet to confirm her identity.

Quite simply, there is no happy ending to this Ferry Tale.


Anonymous said...

Not sure what the captain was thinking!

Anonymous said...

No happy ending indeed

Anonymous said...

Ouch. This one is going to leave a mark. Goodnight Korea