Vietnamese woman missing in Korea ferry disaster, daughter saved

Thanh Nien News

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A photo of Kwon Ji-yeon, who was rescued from the sunk South Korean ferry, was circulated on Twitter to find her relatives. Her Vietnamese mother, Korean father, and six-year-old brother are still missing.
A five-year-old girl was rescued Friday from the sunken Korean yacht but the rest of her family, including her Vietnamese mother, are still missing as the death toll mounted to 56.
The family of the 29-year-old mother, Phan Ngoc Thach, from Vietnam’s southernmost province Ca Mau reached South Korea with assistance from the Vietnamese embassy early Sunday, Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper reported.
Duong Chinh Chuc, a counselor at the embassy, said some embassy officials have been sent to Jindo port to assist Thanh’s family.
Officials from the embassy and Korea's foreign and  gender equality and family ministries received them at the airport and took them to the site of the accident around 700 kilometers from Seoul.
Surviving passengers and police officers rescued Thanh’s daughter Kwon Ji-yeon Wednesday soon after the ferry sank.
Nurses dispatched to the site and others used social networks to find her extended family, and she is now with her father’s sister and mother.
Thanh and her husband Han Yun Ji were moving with the girl and six-year-old son to settle in Jeju, where Han used to live.
The Korea Times said the father had planned to quit the urban rat race and become a farmer, growing tangerine on Jeju.
The ferry had their moving truck filled with furniture.
It quoted nurses at Hankuk Hospital in Mokpo as saying the girl was admitted without  physical injuries but apparent traumatized.
“Mother and brother put a life jacket on me and pushed me up” has been her only comment so far.
A passenger identified only as Kim said he spotted the girl alone in a cabin and he and three other men passed her to each other as they struggled to climb up the tilted ferry.
Chuc said Thanh, one of more than 60,000 Vietnamese women living in South Korea after marrying locals, got Korean citizenship last year.
According to the latest information, 246 out of the 476 passengers, mostly high school children on a holiday trip, are still missing.
The vessel is suspected to have hit underwater reefs.
Its captain Lee Joon-Seok and two of his crew were arrested Saturday.
Yonhap news agency said Lee, who handed the helm to his third officer before the accident happened and  abandoned the ferry when it sank, faces five charges ranging from criminal negligence to violation of maritime law.
The Maritime Ministry said the vessel made a sharp turn before sending its first distress signal.
Some experts believe the turn could have dislodged heavy cargo and destabilized the vessel, while others suggested the turn might have been caused by a collision with an underwater object like a rock.

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