Two Chinese citizens were among passengers on the ferry that capsized and sank off of South Korea on Wednesday, the Chinese embassy confirmed. The ferry was carrying over 450 people, most whom were high school students.
Two of the passengers aboard the ill-fated ship from the western port city of Incheon to the southern resort island of Jeju were confirmed to be Chinese nationals, an official with the Chinese embassy said.
But the South Korean coast guard could not identify them by checking the personal information passengers provided while purchasing tickets, and the Chinese embassy requested South Korean authorities to further examine the lead, the official added.
Emergency teams are still searching for survivors onboard the ill-fated vessel. Nine people have been confirmed dead as of Thursday, and as of 10:45 a.m., 287 were still missing and 179 people rescued, according to CNN.
A total of 325 students from Danwon High School in Ansan were on the ferry. They were on their way to Jeju, a popular resort island, where they planned a four-day field trip.
One of the students, Kim Tae-young, said that people aboard the hip were told not to move as it capsized.
“The water rushed in, up to my neck, and it was difficult to climb to the top of the boat because it was badly tilted,” he told News Y, a cable channel. “I saw shipping containers tossed off the ship’s deck and floating in the water. I also saw a vending machine toppled and two girls trapped under it.”