UPDATE: 9 confirmed dead after ferry sinks in South Korea - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: 9 confirmed dead after ferry sinks in South Korea

Posted: Updated:
SEOUL, South Korea (WKOW) -- At least nine people have now been confirmed dead and 55 others injured after a ferry sank off the southern coast of South Korea.

Survivors of a ferry sinking off the coast of South Korea are describing how they jumped into the frigid water wearing life jackets and then swam to a nearby rescue boat. 

There may have been many others on board who weren't able to escape. The ferry carrying 462 people, sank while on an overnight trip to a tourist island. Most of those on board were high school students. 

Local TV stations showed pictures of the ship listing to its side and slowly sinking as passengers jumped out or were lifted to safety by helicopters. Rescuers were on the sides of the ship, pulling out passengers. But the ship overturned completely and continued to sink slowly. Eventually, only its bow was sticking out of the water.

Some 160 coast guard and navy divers have been searching for possible survivors. A Coast Guard spokesman says 16 divers approached the ferry and tried to get inside, but couldn't because the current was too strong. The spokesman adds that the water is muddy, and visibility is poor.

An emergency official says the water temperature in the area is about 54 degrees.

*****

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Officials in South Korea say nearly 300 people are still missing several hours after a ferry sank in the cold waters off the country's southern coast.
   CNN reports 4 people confirmed dead, but there are fears of a much bigger death toll as dozens of boats, helicopters and divers continue to search for survivors.
   One passenger says he believes that many people were trapped inside when the ferry sank. The boat sent out a distress call Wednesday morning when it began leaning to one side.
   The Ministry of Security and Public Administration says about 95 percent of the ferry is now submerged.
   Most of the 459 people on board were high school students on a school trip. On student tells broadcaster YTN that he and other students jumped into the ocean wearing life jackets and then swam to a rescue boat nearby.

*****

SOUTH KOREA (WKOW) -- Hundreds of people are missing after a ferry carrying more than 400 passengers sank off the coast of South Korea Wednesday morning.

CNN reports at least four people have died and officials fear that number would rise as the day continues. More than 100 passengers were rescued, but they believe many people were trapped inside the ferry when it sank. Authorities still don't know what caused the ship to sink. They say the weather was clear at the time of the incident.

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