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South Korean Ferry: Mate was steering for 1st time

The captain who is accused of abandoning people in need and letting his 3rd mate steer the huge ship that sank off the coast of South Korea a few days ago now says that his mate was steering the route for the first time and therefore wasn’t experienced enough to be given control over the ferry ship. According to officials the third mate had worked for the ferry operator for only four months.

“We have confirmed that the captain of the Sewol left the wheel to a third mate before the ship began sinking,” chief investigator Park Jae-eok said at the West Regional Headquarters of the Korea Coast Guard in Mokpo, 410 kilometers south of Seoul.

The captain has now been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need, two other mates were taken into custody, including the unexperienced woman who tried to prevent the ship from crashing into rocks after it was steered into an area with lots of islands clustered close together, which made it nearly impossible to turn around without hitting a rock.

Now the captain has delivered a statement, suggesting that the rescue mission was not ambitious enough.

“At the time, the current was very strong, temperature of the ocean water was cold, and I thought that if people left the ferry without (proper) judgment, if they were not wearing a life jacket, and even if they were, they would drift away and face many other difficulties,” Lee told reporters. “The rescue boats had not arrived yet, nor were there any civilian fishing ships or other boats nearby at that time.”

Officials now said that there are still more than 270 people missing, after 26 have already been found.

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Video: news all the world

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