Why Did The Family Members Of Missing Passengers Onboard Sewol Ferry Clash With Police?

Scuffles broke out on Jindo island between police and families of the missing passengers from the sunken South Korean ferry.

Cover image via

PHOTO: Relatives of missing family members onboard Sewol ferry block a car carrying South Korea's PM

Image via

Relatives of missing passengers clashed with police Sunday morning near the ferry wreck site, after police blocked them from moving to Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul

Scuffles broke out as police prevented families from crossing a bridge to the mainland

Image via

Since the capsize, many of the relatives of those on board have been on Jindo, in the south-west of the country. Hundreds have been camping at a gymnasium on the island, awaiting news from the rescue operation. Scuffles broke out when some family members tried to cross a bridge to the mainland, reportedly to march on the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, some 420km (260 miles) to the north.

The family members of victims had planned to visit the presidential office in protest of the govt. for the slow progress in the ongoing SAR Operation, and its sloppy response to the fatal accident so far

Tempers have flared at times between relatives of those on board and police

Image via

"The government is the killer," some of the relatives shouted, as they pushed against the police barricade.

"We want an answer from the person in charge about why orders are not going through and nothing is being done," Lee Woon-Geun, father of missing passenger Lee Jung-in, 17, said. "They are clearly lying and kicking the responsibility to others."

Family members of passengers missing after the South Korean ferry "Sewol" capsized protest in Jindo

Image via

In defence, the police formed two lines to prevent the pushing and shoving relatives reaching the bridge

"Bring me the body so that I can see the face and hug my child," shouted one woman. Relatives are anxious for the bodies to be retrieved before they decompose.

Relatives of missing passengers from the ferry Sewol react as they are blocked from marching by South Korean police on Sunday.

Image via

"After four or five days the body starts to decay. When it's decayed, if you try to hold a hand it might fall off,'' he said. "I miss my son. I'm really afraid I might not get to find his body.''

Even the Prime Minister came down to try to dissuade the protesters from marching on Seoul, with officials worried that the controversy could turn into a national political issue and harm the government

The South Korea prime minister Chung Hong-won addressed the relatives directly on Sunday

Image via

According to reports, the Sewol ferry was being steered by an inexperienced Third Mate in unfamiliar waters

Image via

The captain was not in the steering room when the accident occurred, according to police and his own account. He was in his cabin. A crew member, described as the third mate and identified only as Park, appeared in handcuffs with Lee. Park is facing charges including negligence and causing injuries leading to deaths, said Yang Joong Jin, a maritime police spokesman.

A technician with the surname Cho is also facing the same charges, he said. Lee answered questions as he left a court hearing Saturday. "The tidal current was strong and water temperature was cold, and there was no rescue boat," he told reporters, according to CNN affiliate YTN. "So I had everyone stand by and wait for the rescue boat to arrive."

He said he plotted the ship's course, and then went to his cabin briefly "to tend to something." It was then, he said, the accident happened. The third mate, who was at the helm of the ship when Lee left, said she did not make a sharp turn, but "the steering turned much more than usual."

Get the latest updates on the ongoing SAR Operations:

ALSO READ: Vice-Principal Rescued From Sinking Ferry Commits Suicide By Hanging Himself On A Tree

You may be interested in: