South Korea ferry disaster: captain and crew accused of abandoning passengers

The parents of hundreds of children missing after Wednesday’s ferry accident off the coast of South Korea have accused the captain of the vessel of abandoning passengers after it emerged that he and six other crew members were among the first to leave the ship after it started to sink.

The captain, Lee Joon-seok, who is reportedly in his 60s, escaped from the 6,835-ton Sewol at about 9:30am on Wednesday, just 40 minutes after the vessel apparently ran aground and started to list severely. Full story

Pictured: Lee Joon-Seok (centre), captain of the South Korean ferry that sank at sea off Jindo, is questioned by reporters. Photograph: Yonhap/Reuters Photograph: Yonhap/Reuters

Update: At least 295 missing as ferry sinks off the coast of South Korea

At least four reported dead and 55 injured as ships and helicopters race to save passengers, including children bound for holiday island. Latest story

Pictured: Maritime police search for missing passengers onboard the rapidly sinking ferry as night begins to fall. Photograph: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

More than 100 missing as ferry sinks off the coast of South Korea

More than 100 people were still unaccounted for as efforts continued to rescue passengers aboard a South Korean ferry that sank off the country’s south-west coast on Wednesday morning.

Dozens of coastguard and navy vessels were battling to rescue passengers, including 325 high school pupils and their teachers. A major rescue operation is now underway involving more than 30 coastguard and military ships, as well as about a dozen helicopters.

Officials said two of the ship’s 476 passengers, which included more than 300 children, had been confirmed dead but there were fears that many passengers may have been trapped inside the vessel as it listed and sank. Full story 

Photograph: Yonhap/EPA

A commando shows off his skills as he smashes bottles in a performance for children in Gyeryong City, South Korea. Thankfully, they were filled with water not beer.

From picture desk live: the best news images of the day

Photograph: EPA

The gargantuan size of Seoul, along with its numerous skyscrapers, creates an awe-inspiring view from the top of Namsan Tower. Mike Beech captures the intensity of this 24-hour city, home to half of South Korea’s population, but also its quieter moments, in this series of photographs

Photograph: Mike Beech

Han Jong Sim, the star of Comrade Kim Goes Flying, the first North Korean film to screen at the South Korean festival since 2003. The movie, about a young woman who runs off to join the circus as an acrobat, won the award for best director at the two-yearly Pyongyang international film festival last month.

Photograph: AP