Search and rescue continues for 290 missing in sunken ferry in South Korea

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Bad weather, murky water and strong currents are hampering the search for survivors of the South Korean ferry disaster.
The search continues for 290 people still unaccounted for after ferry carrying more than 470 people capsized off the southwestern coast of South Korea on Wednesday.
Officials say 179 people have been rescued. Most of the passengers were pupils at the same high school.
South Korea\’s president visited the wreck and urged rescuers to "hurry".
Park Geun-hye said that time was running out and that every minute and every second was critical.
Coast guard officials said Thursday nine people are confirmed dead, though the death toll is expected to rise sharply. 
South Korea\’s Yonhap news agency has reported that one Russian andtwo Chinese are also among the missing
A strong current and murky waters have so far prevented divers from entering the ferry, which sank early Wednesday. 
It is unclear if anyone is alive inside the boat, which is almost completely submerged in water that is only 12 degrees Celsius.
South Korea\’s Minister of Security and Public Administration Kang Byung-kyu said floating cranes will attempt to lift the boat out of the water.
"A total of 555 divers were mobilized for search operations and three cranes departed (for the accident area) last night. One crane will arrive tomorrow morning and two will arrive at night."
Families of the missing passengers are furious at the government because of what they feel is the slow pace of the rescue effort. 
Many of them lashed out in frustration at President Park Geun-hye during an impromptu meeting on the island of Jindo, near the crash site.
Park tried to reassure the distraught families that authorities are doing everything possible in the search and rescue mission.
"I urged those commanding the rescue work to do their best until the last moment, keeping it in mind how much the families have suffered. That was my order."
At least 325 of the passengers on board the ship were students from Danwon high school in Ansan, near the capital, Seoul.
The students, aged 16 and 17, were heading on a field trip to Jeju island with about 15 teachers.
The 6,825-ton ferry Sewol departed from the port of Incheon on Tuesday night for the island of Jeju, some 100 kilometers off the southwest coast. 
Authorities have not established the cause of the disaster. But some survivors report hearing a loud impact noise before the vessel rolled onto its side and began sinking. 
Many passengers said they were initially told to stay in their seats and not try to escape, a development that outraged many families of those missing. 
Among the ferry\’s 475 passengers were 325 students from a high school near Seoul, traveling to the popular resort island for a four-day field trip and sightseeing. 
Heavy fog was reported in the area on Tuesday evening, but it is not known whether it contributed to the sinking.
Source: Agencies

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