SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye paid a visit to the site where a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast Thursday, as search efforts continued for hundreds of passengers still missing a day after the disaster.
The surprise visit shows Park is deeply worried about the fate of those listed as unaccounted for amid fears they could be trapped inside the sunken vessel. Aides said that an anxious Park stayed awake all night before deciding in the morning to visit the site.
Park rode a boat to visit the site about 20 kilometers off the island of Byeongpung. Her chief of staff Kim Ki-choon, senior press secretary Lee Jung-hyun and senior political secretary Park Joon-woo accompanied the president, her office said.
The 6,325-ton ferry Sewol was carrying 475 people, mostly students from a high school near Seoul, when it sent a distressed signal on Wednesday morning. Of the passengers, nine have been confirmed dead, but 287 others are unaccounted for, including 245 students.
Park has urged maximum rescue efforts.
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