Work underway in South Korea to salvage sunken Sewol ferry

CCTV News

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In South Korea, an operation is under way to salvage a ferry that capsized more than two years ago. More than 300 died, most of them high school students. More than two years after the incident, nine people remain missing.

CCTV’s U-Jean Jung reports from Seoul.

Work underway in South Korea to salvage sunken Sewol ferry

Work underway in South Korea to salvage sunken Sewol ferry

In South Korea, an operation is under way to salvage a ferry that capsized more than two years ago. More than 300 died, most of them high school students. More than two years after the incident, nine people remain missing. CCTV's U-Jean Jung reports from Seoul.

Lifting the bow of the sunken Sewol ferry is no easy task. The work, which will cost more than $80 million, started Sunday, and yet the retrieval mission is already on hold.

Unexpected swells in the sea hampered efforts to lift the 6,825-ton passenger ferry. The company performing the salvage operation is from China and is the same company that raised a Yangtze River cruise ship more than a year ago.

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The government hopes to have the vessel out of the water by August. For the last two years the ferry has been lying some 40 meters (131 feet) below sea level.

The Sewol capsized off the southwestern coast of South Korea, carrying more than 400 passengers. Many victims were high school students on a trip to the resort island of Jeju. Less than a hundred survived, and nine bodies are still missing.

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Many who are still mourning and demanding answers in Seoul, hope those nine missing will be in the bow of the ferry, a part that was difficult for the divers to get to during the recovery stage.

“We have up to three layers of safety installations in place to prevent bodies from drifting away during the salvage operation. We are working with the hope that all nine bodies will be found,” South korean Vice Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Yoon Hag-Bae said.

A number of reasons led to the sinking of the Sewol. The ship was redesigned illegally. It was overloaded with cargo, and the crew lacked experience.