A ferry carrying 459 passengers – mostly school students - capsized and sank this morning off the coast of South Korea
Almost 300 passengers are still missing after a 146-metre ferry capsized and sank off the coast of South Korea this morning.
Four people are so far believed to have been killed while many others have been injured in the incident.
Rescue operations including ships and helicopters are under way, with 164 people already having been pulled from the water.
Divers are still searching the scene for missing passengers and crew but mud in the seawater means that visibility is very low.
The ferry, which mainly had school students onboard, was travelling from the port of Incheon to the southern resort of Jeju.
The cause of the incident is not yet clear but witnesses have described hearing an impact before the ship capsized and sank.
One passenger told the YTN news channel: “We heard a big thumping sound and the boat stopped.
“The boat is titling and we have to hold on to something to stay seated.”
The ferry is believed to have sent out a distress signal about 12 miles off the island of Byungpoong at around 9am local time.
According to the AP news agency, ferry company official Kim Youn-boong, said the following: “I would like to say sorry to the passengers, which include a number of students and their parents and promise that our company will do its best to minimise loss of life.”