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Prosecutors Seek Arrest Warrant for Ferry Captain

09-08-2014
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Dive teams found themselves racing against time and weather Friday as they continued to search the ferry that sunk off the coast of South Korea this week.

Rough waters, strong winds, and poor visibility are slowing down rescue efforts.

Reuters reports that the company Web Solus is providing an underwater drone free of charge to search the vessel for survivors.

"The current is too strong," drone operator Ko Se-jin said. "It's so strong that divers get swept away in moments."

Nearly 270 people are still missing, with at least 28 confirmed dead.

Still, rescue teams are pumping air into the submerged vessel in hopes some passengers may be alive, surviving in air pockets inside the sunken ferry.

Images and videos are starting to emerge from the terrifying moments after the ship began to sink, showing passengers scrambling to escape the rising water.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are asking a court to issue an arrest warrant for the ferry's captain, Lee Joon Suk.

New findings from police Friday show that not only did Lee escape the ship first, he wasn't even at the helm when it capsized. Instead, he'd left an inexperienced third officer in charge.

"The captain should have been in the wheelhouse. However, he was not in a position where he could have led the steering. We believe he was at the back of the wheelhouse," investigation team prosecutor Park Jae-eok said.

The captain also delayed evacuation for half an hour despite orders to abandon ship by officials on shore.

Meanwhile, families are angry at the slow pace of the rescue effort. Some have waited for days on an island close to the sunken ferry.

"I want to jump into the water with them," Park Geum-san, the great-aunt of missing student Park Ye-ji, said. "My loved one is under the water and it's raining. Anger is not enough."

Although cranes arrived at the scene Friday, coast guard officials say salvage work will not begin until they're sure there's no hope of a rescue.

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