South Korean Prime Minister Resigns Over Ferry Accident

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One day after the remaining four members of the crew navigating South Korea's sunken ferry, the Sewol, were taken into police custody, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigned. He cited the government's handling of the disaster, as well as the widespread shame, fury, and finger-pointing that followed, as his reasons for stepping down. "As I saw grieving families suffering with the pain of losing their loved ones and the sadness and resentment of the public, I thought I should take all responsibility as prime minister," Chung said. He added, "There have been so many varieties of irregularities that have continued in every corner of our society and practices that have gone wrong. I hope these deep-rooted evils get corrected this time and this kind of accident never happens again."

The Associated Press points out that, since South Korea's executive power is mostly held by the president, the resignation is mostly symbolic. A spokesman for Park Geun-hye said that the president would accept Chung’s resignation, but did not say exactly when Chung would leave office.

On the investigation side: Prosecutors are now analyzing communications between the distressed ship and its owners on the day of the sinking, following a local media report that Captain Lee Joon-seok called for company approval before evacuating. A government-wide emergency task force is still at work recovering the remaining 114 people they believe to be missing, though that number continues to change. As of Sunday, it’s believed 174 people survived the April 16 tragedy, including 22 of the ferry’s 29 crew members.