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    Concerns Mount as Hundreds Remain Missing After South Korea Ferry Sinks

    By By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
    April 19, 2014, 12:41:19 AM EDT

    A ferry sunk off the coast of South Korea on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, leaving at least nine dead and over 285 passengers missing, according to the Associated Press.

    It is still unclear what caused the ship to sink.

    At least nine people have died so far as a result of the ship sinking, but that number is expected to rise as crews continue to search for unaccounted passengers.

    Despite rescue efforts by the Coast Guard and Navy, nearly 300 of the ship's 459 passengers are still unaccounted for.


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    Despite the continuation of rescue efforts Thursday, low water temperatures are causing major concerns for the likelihood of finding survivors.

    According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Dale Mohler, water temperatures in the area are between the mid- to upper 50s.

    For temperatures in this range, expected time of survival ranges between one and six hours, according to the Minnesota Sea Grant. When submerged in cold water, hypothermia is the biggest safety concern.

    RELATED:
    South Korea Weather
    AccuWeather Severe Weather Center
    Detailed Seoul Weather

    Before sinking, the ferry sent out a distress signal at 8:58 a.m. local time on Wednesday after it began leaning to one side, according to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration.

    "There was no precipitation in the vicinity at the time of the accident," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak said. It is still unclear what caused the ferry to sink.

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