A ferry that was on its way to a tourist island off the southern shore of South Korea sank early Wednesday morning leaving four people dead, 55 injured, and hundreds unaccounted for. The ferry was mostly carrying high school students who were on a class trip to the island and dozens of ships and helicopters have been spending hours trying to locate and recue as many passengers as possible. It is one of the biggest ferry disasters in South Korean history and depending on how the search-and-rescue efforts play out, it could end up being the biggest disaster since 1993 that saw nearly 300 people lose their lives.
More than 160 Navy and Coast Guard divers have spent hours frantically searching the area where the ferry sank and have also searched inside the ship’s wreckage. The ferry set off from the South Korean city of Incheon on Tuesday evening but sent out a distress call just three hours from its destination after it began listing heavily to one side. The listing became increasingly severe until eventually the ferry sank. It has not been determined why the ship began listing or what ultimately caused it to sink but officials are more concerned right now with rescue efforts than investigating the reasons for the incident.