Asia

Sewol disaster ferry raised in South Korea after three years

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Media captionThe government has bowed to pressure to raise the 6,825 tonne vessel (there is no sound on this video)

A ferry has been raised from the sea bed, three years after it sank in one of South Korea's deadliest disasters.

The Sewol sank off the south-western island of Jindo on 16 April 2014 killing 304 people, almost all school children on a trip.

It has been winched to the surface so a platform can be inserted under it for it to be towed ashore.

It is expected to arrive at port in less than two weeks, where it will be met by the families of victims.

Image copyright Hankook Daily via Getty Images
Image caption Raising the vessel was one of the key demands of the families of the victims
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The complex operation is one of the largest ever attempted

The bodies of nine victims are believed to still be trapped inside the sunken ship, and raising it was one of the central demands of their families.

The government bowed to pressure to raise the 6,825 tonne vessel, one of the most complex operations ever attempted, said the the BBC's Stephen Evans on Jindo Island.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Relatives of the victims watched the salvage operation off the Jindo island

The 16-year-old daughter of Huh Hong-Hwan was one victim whose remains were never found.

"To see the Sewol again, I can't describe how I'm feeling right now," Mr Huh told the AFP news agency as he watched the raising of the ship from a boat nearby.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Hundreds of workers in a Chinese salvage team were involved in the raising

The sinking was blamed on a combination of illegal redesigns, cargo overloading, the inexperience of the crew member steering the vessel, and lax government regulations. The ship's captain was later convicted of murder.

Image copyright Reuters/Korea Coast Guard
Image caption Former President Park Geun-hye came under intense pressure over the sinking at the time

Anger over the response of the authorities after the disaster contributed to the unpopularity of former President Park Geun-hye, who was recently ousted.

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