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Diver dies: Ferry search turns tragic as South Korean ship takes another life

Diver dies searching sunken South Korean ferry.
Diver dies searching sunken South Korean ferry.
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The South Korean ferry disaster has claimed one more life today, that of a civilian diver who had joined in with the search for an estimated 40 passengers still missing. This was the diver’s first dive with the search party, who take their lives in their hands with each dive they make into the dark compartments of this sunken ferry.

According to MSN News on May 6, the compartments are filled with floating debris and the darkness makes it hard to see anything past the beams of their search lights. The divers entered the last three unopened areas of the ship on Monday night. There are 111 compartments on the ship and authorities believe the remaining missing are in 64 of those compartments.

While those 64 compartments were searched already, the team will be searching them again. The diver who died was in the process of doing this with the team when he was rendered unconscious for some unknown reason.

The 53-year-old diver went down into the ship and the search team went looking for him when they lost contact. They found the man unconscious, and he later died at a hospital. The diver was identified only as “Lee” could not breathe on his own when pulled from the underwater dive to search the ferry. The diver’s cause of death was not released, according to CNN News today.

The ill-fated ferry sank quickly when the captain left an inexperienced crew member at the helm. The cargo shifted causing the ship to capsize. It was later discovered that the ship was carrying three times the amount of cargo for its size.

There were 29 crew members on board the ferry when it went down on April 16 and 22 of them made it to safety. Apparently they knew when and how to jump ship, but some of the crew were arrested, including the captain, for leaving the passengers to fend for themselves. So far 19 people have been arrested, with 15 of them being crew members.

The other four people were among the ground crew who loaded and stacked the cargo way beyond its weight limit. The cargo was also not secured properly. The 3,608 tons of cargo was more than three time the amount that the ship could safely carry.

Only 174 people survived out of the 476 people on board. The majority of the passengers on the South Korean ferry were high school students who were on a field trip, all from the same school in China. The ship sank and took more than 260 people with it, with about 40 people still missing today. There are more than 130 divers searching the ill-fated vessel today for the remaining missing bodies.

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