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South Korea ferry disaster: Prosecutors turn to mobile app to reconstruct final moments

Published on Apr 21, 2014 1:20 PM

SEOUL (AFP) - Prosecutors probing South Korea's ferry disaster have turned to a popular mobile chat service to reconstruct the final moments of hundreds feared to have perished on board the sinking ship.

The 6,825-tonne ferry carrying 447 passengers - mostly high school students on a holiday trip - sank off the country's southwest Wednesday, leaving 64 dead and 238 still missing.

Survivors say crew members instructed them to stay put while the ship continued to list dramatically, delaying an evacuation operation that could have saved many lives.

As the probe focuses on the crew's actions and when - if at all - they issued the evacuation order, investigators have collected a vast trove of chat records from popular app Kakao Talk to trace the final moments on board the sinking ship.

A family member of missing passengers (centre) who were on the South Korean passenger ferry Sewol prays toward the sea at a Jindo port where family members of missing passengers gathered on April 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
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