Skip to main content

South Korea ferry disaster: Families protest over rescue operation

April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Families sheltered at a gym attempt to take grievances to South Korean president
  • Families marched out at night, one witness tells CNN
  • Police blocked families from leaving

Seoul (CNN) -- Angry and frustrated over both the search and rescue operation and the flow of information from South Korean authorities, dozens of relatives of missing ferry passengers intending to march in protest to Seoul were blocked by police from leaving Jindo.

Early Sunday around 2 a.m, the family members left their temporary shelter at an indoor gym and demanded they be able to go to the Blue House -- the official residence of the South Korean President Park Geun-hye -- to present their complaints. 

Divers continue to search sunken ferry
Children's bodies recovered from ferry
Shoes believed to belong to the missing and the deceased are on display at the harbor. Shoes believed to belong to the missing and the deceased are on display at the harbor.
South Korean ferry sinks
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: South Korean ferry sinks Photos: South Korean ferry sinks

The residence is located in the capital, Seoul -- some 275 miles north of Jindo. 

Jindo is the port city where the search, rescue and recovery operation has been based since the ferry, carrying 476 passengers, capsized and sank on Wednesday. Hundreds of passengers remain unaccounted for.

A police cordon prevented the planned march from proceeding, witnesses said. A few scuffles broke out but no one was reported hurt.

"We are not getting any help, so we want to go to the Blue House,' said Nam Sa Hyun, an older sister of a student who is missing from the ferry. "We want to tell the president about our situation." 

Transcript of desperate calls released

"For four days, there is no help. Right now, nobody is giving information on the missing. Our children are in the boat and there is no plan."

Though the police were not aggressive to the protesting families, Nam questioned why there were so many officers at the site of anguished relatives. 

"They're not letting us get on the bus, the police are blocking us," she said. "They're not helping us, they're just blocking us."

South Korean ferry rescue operation  South Korean ferry rescue operation
South Korean ferry rescue operationSouth Korean ferry rescue operation

Several families stayed in the street, attempting to break through police lines in their march. Some families lay down on the ground, sleeping outside in the cold to express their displeasure. 

In a video sent to CNN, angry parents yelled at officials who were trying to convince the families to go back to the gym, which serves as a temporary shelter for families.

"I can't believe them," a woman shouted at the official who was urging them to return.

"Let's go on our way. Why do we sit here and listen to them?'

READ: Abandon ship? In recent maritime disasters, captains don't hang around

READ: Students remember vice principal who took own life after ferry sinking

READ: Woman, 71, survives because stranger wouldn't give up on her

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 0402 GMT (1202 HKT)
South Korean forensics officials say they are sure the body found in a field last month is Yoo Byung Eun.
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 0939 GMT (1739 HKT)
The trial of the captain and crew began, with the accused facing the families of the victims.
May 29, 2014 -- Updated 0252 GMT (1052 HKT)
South Korea's most wanted man, who is believed to have ties to the company that operated the ill-fated Sewol ferry, has eluded arrest for weeks.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1909 GMT (0309 HKT)
South Korea's President apologized for a ferry disaster that killed close to 300 people and said she would dismantle the country's coast guard.
May 16, 2014 -- Updated 0323 GMT (1123 HKT)
Here are 7 major factors that contributed to the ship's sinking.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
The words and images from the cell phone of a girl who perished on the South Korean ferry convey the rising panic aboard.
May 14, 2014 -- Updated 0556 GMT (1356 HKT)
In one video, the captain of the sinking South Korean ferry scrambles to safety. In another, stranded passengers panic.
April 27, 2014 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
As the death toll from the ferry disaster continues to rise, yellow ribbons have evolved into a national sign of grief.
April 27, 2014 -- Updated 1452 GMT (2252 HKT)
Choi Duk-Ha, 17, is credited for saving the lives of many on the ferry. He later died and is now hailed as a hero.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1931 GMT (0331 HKT)
CNN's Nic Robertson reports on the rising anger as South Koreans learn more about the final moments of the doomed vessel.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0314 GMT (1114 HKT)
CNN's Erin Burnett talks to Ship stability expert Paul Roden about whether the cargo lead to the ferry disaster.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1606 GMT (0006 HKT)
South Korea is not only a nation in mourning, but also a country overwhelmed with guilt. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Park Jee Young, 22, helped passengers escape and distributed life jackets as the stricken ferry began to sink, refusing to wear one herself. It cost her life.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Such bravery has been conspicuously absent from two major maritime disasters in recent times.
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1148 GMT (1948 HKT)
South Korean students remember their vice principal, who took his own life after the ferry sinking.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 1930 GMT (0330 HKT)
The captain of the sunken South Korean ferry is defending his actions as rescuers continue the search for survivors.
April 20, 2014 -- Updated 0201 GMT (1001 HKT)
CNN's Kyung Lah reports on suicide in South Korea following news of a capsized ferry.
ADVERTISEMENT