SEOUL: A ferry with 477 passengers and crew on board sank off the southern coast of South Korea on Wednesday that left two persons including one female crew member dead while 368 people were rescued.
The 6,825-ton ferry, identified as the Sewol, sailed out of the western port of Incheon on Tuesday evening, and ran into trouble some 20 kilometers (13 miles) off the island of Byungpoong on Wednesday.
The passengers also included 325 were high school students who were traveling with several teachers to the resort island of Jeju for a four-day trip. There were around 20 crew members on board as well.
The ferry sent out a distress signal at around 9:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday (0000 GMT) with passenger testimony suggesting it may have run aground.
The Vice Minister of Security and Public Administration Lee Gyeong-og told a televised news conference in Seoul that a total of 34 naval, coastguard and civilian ships together with 18 helicopters are involved in the rescue operations.