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South Korea ferry disaster: Angry parents seek autopsies of victims

Published on Apr 24, 2014 1:47 PM
A mother whose teenage child was onboard the capsized Sewol ferry and is missing, cries as she reads messages dedicated to the missing and dead passengers on the ship at a port where many family members wait for news from the search and rescue team in Jindo on April 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - Some parents of the mostly teenage victims of South Korea's ferry disaster are pushing for autopsies that might show their children were alive inside the submerged vessel and only died because the emergency response was so slow.

The confirmed death toll on Thursday stood at 169, but 133 were still missing as dive teams searched in near pitch-black conditions for bodies trapped in the ferry's interior.

More than a week after the 6,825 tonne Sewol capsized and sank with 476 people on board, most of them high school students, there is still widespread anger among the victims' families over the pace of the initial rescue effort.

It took divers working in difficult, dangerous conditions more than two days to access the sunken ferry and two more days to retrieve the first bodies.

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