South Korean President Dismantles Coast Guard Over Ferry Disaster

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South Korean President Park Geun-hye announced Monday that she will scrap the country’s coast guard as a “reform and a great transformation” after hundreds of teenagers died in a ferry disaster last month.

Speaking on national television, Park bowed and offered an apology for failing to prevent the ferry Sewol from capsizing on April 16 when hundred of students from South Korea’s Danwon High School died after getting trapped inside. Although 172 passengers were saved within hours after the ferry sank, 287 are confirmed dead and 17 are still missing in the waters.

Park, who shed tears towards the end of the nationally televised speech, said she will dismantle the coast guard for its inability to save more lives due to poor rescue operations, which led South Korea to suffer one of its worst peacetime disasters.

“The ultimate responsibility lies with me, the president,” Park said. “The coast guard failed to fulfill its duties. The number of casualties could have been greatly reduced had it been more assertive in responding.”

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