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
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)

(Newser) – 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.

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Apr 26, 2014 7:35 AM CDT
My condolences .... These companies in third world countries should be made to have one of the owners and one of the government officials who license them ride along on every trip. I'll bet the service and safety would be stellar. I would like to understand why those people(on the survey) thought this was hilarious. Is it as simple as mental retardation? Newser (which must be run in a rundown basement) should let us communicate with these beings, as we do with each other on these stories.
Apr 25, 2014 5:56 AM CDT
I commend the coast guard guy for being passive in the face of this aggression. That must not have been easy for him. I know I'd be angry but I'd also be resigned to the situation now and thinking about grieving in private and moving on. I speak from exp here. 27 years ago I got a call to say my brother had just been caught in a rip and was missing. While my family clung to hope for days, I knew in a second that it was all over and that he was not coming back. Sometimes you just have to accept the situation and (in this case) let the courts and law enforcement do their work in terms of ensuring that the asshat responsible is jailed and the true story comes out. And you can call me..............Mr Joshua
Apr 25, 2014 12:29 AM CDT
Story did not say if any of the parents where charged in the assault..