Mad Ferry Parents Maul Coast Guard Officer

Prosecutors blame disaster on cargo and extra cabins
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2014 5:23 PM CDT
Ferry's Extra Cabins Made It Tilt: Prosecutors
In this April 16, 2014 file photo, South Korean rescue team boats and fishing boats try to rescue passengers of the sinking ferry Sewol in the water off South Korea's southern coast, near Jindo.   (AP Photo/South Korea Coast Guard via Yonhap, File)

Furious South Korean parents today broke into the command center for rescue operations of the ferry that capsized in last week's tragedy, the New York Times reports. As scores of family members pushed inside, mothers attacked a Coast Guard officer in charge and blamed him for letting students be "food for the fish." They punched and slapped him and tore his shirt, Sky News reports, but the officer didn't resist, and police officers didn't intervene. In other developments:

  • Prosecutors officially blamed the ferry disaster on poor cargo stowage and the addition of extra cabins that apparently kept the ship from righting itself after tilting. They also blamed ship commanders for making an overly sharp turn in a strong current.
  • Danwon High School in Ansan, south of Seoul, continued grieving today as black hearses drove through the gates, CNN reports. In passenger seats, people held up photos of students lost in the accident, as a bus followed with grieving family members and friends inside. About two-thirds of the ferry's passengers were from the school, which welcomed nearly 14,000 mourners yesterday to a memorial altar in the school gymnasium, Yonhap News reports.
  • Investigators have widened their inquiry to include safety inspectors, the ship's owner, regulators, and Coast Guard dispatchers who may not have responded quickly enough. Meanwhile, prosecutors raided the home of the head of the family that owns the ferry company, and seized another of its ferries. "We will investigate malpractice in the entire shipping industry," said the senior prosecutor.
  • The death toll has reached 184, with 118 still missing.
Click to reach about a wrenching find on the ferry. (More ferry accident stories.)

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