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SEOUL, April 29. /ITAR-TASS/. South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye has publicly apologized over the Sewol ferry crash that had left hundreds dead. The apology came at the morning session of the country’s Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday.
“I should apologize for being unable to prevent the accident and for the insufficiency in taking initial action,” Park said. South Korea “lost many precious lives because of the accident, and I am sorry to the public and am heavy-hearted," the president added.
Yonhap agency reported that Park Geun-hye also said she would create an agency for handling large-scale accidents. The whole system of national safety will be revised, Yonhap said.
On April 29, South Korea’s president paid her respects to a memorial for those who died in the disaster.
South Korea's Prime Minister resigns
On Sunday, April 27, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigned after the government response to the ferry crash had been harshly criticized and deemed insufficient.
President Park Geun-hye said she would accept Chung’s resignation only after the rescue operation at the sight of Sewol’s crash is completed.
Ferry captain arrested
The ongoing investigation of the crash has established that crew members, including the ship’s captain, were among the first to leave the ferry. The crew failed to order the evacuation of passengers on time even though they knew the situation had been critical. South Korea’s General Prosecutor’s Office said Sewol’s captain Lee Joon-seok has been arrested and could face charges of negligent homicide.
How the ferry sank
South Korean Sewol passenger ferry with 6,825 tonnage was travelling from the port of Incheon to the island of Jeju. The ship sank on April 16 to the south-west off of the Korean peninsula. A total of 476 people were onboard. Most of the passengers, 325, were schoolchildren from the city of Ansan. The ferry captain, along with most of the crew, was among 174 survivors of the tragedy.
© AP Photo/South Korea Coast Guard via Yonhap