Two dead, 290 missing as ferry sinks in S. Korea

SEOUL - A ferry boat carrying more than 470 people sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving at least two people dead and about 290 others missing. 

The Security and Public Administration Ministry announced that the ferry set off from the western port of Incheon on Tuesday evening and was due to arrive in the southern resort island of Jeju later on Wednesday. The ferry careened off after it called for help when it was two km off the Byungpoong island.

325 of the total 476 passengers were high school students, who were on their way to Jeju for a four-day school trip, it was reported.

A massive rescue operation was launched after the incident, which included 16 helicopters, 34 coast guard boats and many divers. 

The ministry officials had earlier stated that 368 people were rescued, but they later acknowledged there was an error in counting figures. More than 290 people still remain unaccounted for, they said. About 180 people have been rescued so far with 14 of them suffering injuries. 

One recovered person said that many people are still in the ferryboat which is under water, and the rescue team stated that with the sea water being so cold, hopes for further recovery are exhausting as time progresses.

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