Ferry Catches Fire off South Korea's Southern Coast
Severe // Boat Accident
SEOUL -- The coast guard said over 120 people abandoned a ferry after it caught fire off South Korea's southern coast on Tuesday. Majority of the passengers jumped into the water before they were rescued. The Seolbong, en route from Busan to Jeju island, was close to Yeosu on the mainland's southern coast when a fire broke out in the hold. The coastguard dispatched dozens of patrol boats to the area. All 128 people on board the ill-fated ferry evacuated the burning vessel. Exhausted and with faces blackened by smoke, the passengers were taken to Yeosu port. The coastguard said seven passengers suffered minor injuries and were rushed to a hospital for treatment. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear but a crewman claimed that he saw smoke billowing out of the hold. Authorities have already launched an investigation.