Latest news on Korean Ferry disaster: 295 people missing, presumed 'still inside' sunken vessel
Latest reports suggest that the captain of the ferry changed course to shorten the commute time, which may have led to the vessel striking an "underwater rock". The boat then listed to one side, before capsizing and sinking at a rapid rate.
Of the 459 people on board the boat bound for a trip to Jeju island off the coast of South Korea, 164 people have been rescued. The remainder are "unaccounted for." It's being reported that the majority of passengers are school children.
Four people - including a female crew member and a male student - have been confirmed dead, while 295 passengers who were on the ferry are still missing. Given the vessel is now reportedly almost completely submerged, rescue operatives at the scene believe the missing are still inside.
A distress signal was deployed from the ship at 9am local time (1am here) after it struck what is believed to be a reef.
Local journalist Kang Jin Kyu has just told SKY News that the captain reportedly changed course. Witnesses on the ship heard a banging sound, they suspected it hit an "underwater rock" on the way to the "tourist island."
He added: "There has been suspicions that the captain of the ship changed the course of the route to shorten the hours of travel to get to the island, and that may be why the ship unexpectedly hit underwater rocks, which lead to the sinking of the ship."
Special forces divers and have been sent to investigate the sunken vessel.
Story by Sheena McGinley | 09:54 | Wednesday 16th April 2014 | Life