Many passengers became trapped inside listing ship
Several hundred people, most of them students on their way from the port of Incheon in the north-west of South Korea to the resort island of Jeju in the south, are unaccounted for after a ferry carrying 476 people capsized about 20 kilometres offshore.
A massive rescue effort involving ships and helicopters is trying to find almost 300 people still missing several hours after the disaster. An earlier report that 368 people had been saved was an accounting error, South Korean officials said. Two people are reported to have died and 13 injured.
Survivors said they felt a large thump before the ferry stopped and quickly began to list. Passengers, most of them teenagers, frantically tried to hold on as the ferry turned on its side.
Nearby commercial vessels rushed to the scene and rescued people from the ship, but many were trapped inside because they had been told not to move as it was dangerous. Others jumped into the sea.
[pictured: Jeju Island, which should have been the ferry’s destination; image courtesy NASA]