Strong winds, high waves and rain effectively halted search operations Monday for more than 100 passengers still missing from a deadly ferry disaster two weeks ago.
Only one body was retrieved in the on-and-off search operations over the weekend, and adverse weather conditions thwarted overnight attempts to resume search efforts, leaving the death toll unchanged at 188 and the number of the missing at 114.
Officials have taken into custody all 15 people involved in navigating the ferry Sewol, which sank on April 16. The seven surviving crew members who have not been arrested or detained held non-marine jobs such as chefs or stewards.
The arrested crew members are accused of negligence and of failing to help passengers in need. Captain Lee Joon-seok initially told passengers to stay in their rooms and took half an hour to issue an evacuation order, by which time the ship was tilting too severely for many people to get out.
Capt Lee said after his arrest that he withheld the evacuation order because rescuers had yet to arrive and he feared for passengers’ safety in the cold, swift water.
In video released coastguard, the captain, wearing only a sweater and underpants, is shown leaping from the sinking ferry, which is tilted about 45 degrees, on to a rescue boat. According to coastguard official Kim Kyung-il, the ship’s crew members did not tell rescuers who they were.