Transcripts Show Confusion Over S. Korean Ferry Evacuation

Divers continue to pull bodies from the sunken South Korean ferryboat, as authorities widened their inquiry and released transcripts capturing the confusion as the ship capsized five days ago.

The recovery operation, involving hundreds of divers, ships and aircraft, brought the total death toll to 58 Sunday, with 246 still unaccounted for. Most of the victims are high school students.

Marine traffic control transcripts, released Sunday, showed that the crew was hesitant to order passengers to abandon ship.

The captain, Lee Jun-seok, has said he did not order an immediate evacuation because he feared the passengers would be in danger from the strong currents and the cold water, which is about 10 degrees Celsius. Lee was one of the first to leave the ferry.

According to the transcript, Jindo Vessel Traffic Services instructed the crew to get passengers off the boat as other boats rushed to save them after the ferry carrying 476 people began to capsize.

But crew members told traffic controllers that their attempts to order an evacuation were stymied by a faulty announcement system.

Tracking data shows the ship took a sharp turn while navigating a group of small islands off South Korea’s southwestern coast.

There …read more