Further controversy has emerged surrounding the South Korean Sewol ferry disaster, as a TV crew is accused of setting up footage of a rescue diver. Korean media reports that a member of the rescue team who was not working at the time was put in a wetsuit and drenched in water to give the appearance that he had just come back from a dive. Media crews apparently said that a dry-haired diver would not be realistic and believable enough.
Hundreds of people remain missing and presumed dead at the site, where South Korean coast guard and sea rescue crew continue to search the submerged Sewol ferry, which sank en route from the port of Incheon to Jeju island on April 16. The diving team have been hampered by poor underwater visibility, and strong currents.
On April 22, a member of the search and rescue team addressed a team of TV crews, wearing a soaked wetsuit, and spoke about the continuing search. However, South Korean media reports that the diver had actually finished work for the day, and had previously changed into regular clothes. To make the scene look more realistic, therefore, he was made to put his wetsuit back on, and at the TV crews’ request, had water thrown onto him so his hair and wetsuit were soaked.
These accusations of fakery are the latest blow to a disaster response that has been dogged by controversy. Families of the missing passengers have heavily criticised the official response to the disaster, and South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigned Sunday, apologising for the government’s handling of the situation. “I thought I should take all responsibility as Prime Minister”, he told assembled media.