South Korea's president pledges to raise the sunken Sewol ferry as the nation marks the first anniversary of the disaster. Paul Chapman reports.
The first anniversary of the South Korea ferry sinking took place in an atmosphere of grief and bitterness. The prime minister's visit to an official memorial venue in Ansan where many of the victims came from was blocked by angry relatives. They want an independent inquiry into the sinking of the Sewol ferry that claimed 304 lives. Their demands for the wreck to be raised and efforts made to recover the remains of nine people still missing were answered by the president. Park Geun-hye promised to go ahead with that as soon as possible as she visited the port closest to the scene of the disaster. (SOUNDBITE)(Korean) SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE SAYING: "I think now is the time for us to be prepared for the ship salvage. We will make all necessary arrangements promptly so the ship can be raised as soon as possible." That so many died on what should have been a routine crossing, and the fact that most of the victims were students, has shocked South Koreans. Video footage of the crew escaping after telling passengers to stay in their cabins has fuelled nation-wide grief and anger. People at this memorial in Seoul showed the strength of feeling. (SOUNDBITE)(South Korean) KIM HEE-EUN, 52-YEAR-OLD SEOUL RESIDENT, SAYING: "It's a shame and it breaks my heart that no-one wants to take responsibility, even though a year has passed since the Sewol ferry disaster. As a mother I feel hopeless about the current situation and i would not raise my children in our country if I lost my children as the parents of the ferry incident did." While many marked the anniversary around the country, an official memorial service later on Thursday was cancelled by the victims' families. They said they still hadn't had enough answers, and were angered by the president's decision not to attend the service.