SEOUL, (Reuters) – South Korean President Park Geun-hye formally apologised yesterday for a ferry disaster last month that killed about 300 passengers, mostly school children, and said she would break up the coast guard because it had failed in its rescue mission.
The coast guard’s rescue duties will be transferred to a national emergency safety agency to be set up and the national police will take over its investigative function, Park said in a televised national address.
“I apologise to the nation for the pain and suffering that everyone felt, as the president who should have been responsible for the safety and lives of the people,” Park said.
The Sewol, with 476 passengers and crew members on board, capsized and sank on April, killing at least 286 people. Eighteen people remain missing after South Korea’s worst civilian maritime disaster in 20 years.