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Civilian diver dies searching for bodies in Sewol shipwreck

Civilian diver dies searching for bodies in Sewol shipwreck

Posted May. 07, 2014 08:04,   


A civilian diver involved in searches of missing people from the ferry disaster died.

According to the government`s emergency headquarters Tuesday, a 53-year old diver named Lee Kwang-wook dove into waters on 6:07 a.m. to install guide lines around the lobby on the ferry`s fifth floor, but lost communication about five minutes later in waters around 25 meters deep. A fellow diver found him unconscious in waters around 22 meters deep and pulled him to the surface. Lee was taken to Mokpo Hankook Hospital at 6:44 a.m. but was pronounced dead at 7:36 a.m. The hospital said Lee died of pneumocephalus: the pressure gap when diving into water prompted air to enter brain through the lung and blocked the cerebrovascular.

Lee had participated in dam constructions and was working as a subsitute diver to help exhausted others. He arrived at the barge Monday and did his first job Tuesday only to encounter the accident. His air respirator mask was taken off when he was pulled out to surface. Immediately after the accident, his diving equipment was checked and was found that air supply and telecommunication was working normal. Maritime police assumed that Lee`s air supply line was twisted because the inducing lines were stuffed up.

Search work was suspended due to Lee`s death but later resumed. The government-private rescue team succeeded in opening the three cabins among 64 where the missing people were assumed to be in, out of the total 111 cabins of the ferry. It found two dead bodies, leaving 38 people missing. The rescue team will search 47 places in the ferry by Saturday including rooms, toilets, lobby and snack bars that need re-checking.