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Coreia do Sul errou em identificação de corpos

12:30 | 25/04/2014
No mesmo dia em que o presidente dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, visitou a Coreia do Sul e ofereceu seus pêsames aos sul-coreanos pelo naufrágio que matou 183 pessoas, o governo sul-coreano admitiu que alguns corpos foram identificados e transferidos erroneamente e anunciou mudanças para evitar que esse tipo de erro volte a acontecer.

A mídia sul-coreana veiculou várias reportagens esta semana de corpos sendo levados para as famílias erradas, com o erro sendo detectado apenas depois que os restos mortais terem sido levados para a funerária. Um "plano de ação" divulgado pela força-tarefa de emergência do governo reconheceu que "houve casos em que as vítimas foram transferidas de forma errada". Os restos mortais passarão a ser transferidos para as famílias quando houver comprovação de identidade por teste de DNA ou impressão digital ou arcada dentária, destacou a força-tarefa. A transferência será apenas temporária quando um corpo for identificado por aparência ou descrição física, e as autoridades irão esperar por evidências mais conclusivas antes de fazer a transferência permanente.

Mergulhadores recuperaram 183 corpos até o momento, mas 119 seguem desaparecidos e há temores de que seus corpos estejam no barco submerso.

Autoridades que participam dos esforços de busca, inclusive um porta-voz da Marinha e um mergulhador disseram que 35 das 111 cabines do navio foram revistadas até o momento, informou a agência de notícias Yonhap. Conforme as fontes, 48 dos corpos recuperados foram encontrados em uma sala grande construída para acomodar 38 pessoas.

O ferry Sewol naufragou no dia 16 de abril quando fazia o trajeto do porto de Incheon à ilha turística de Jeju, no sul. Mais de 80% dos 302 mortos e desaparecidos eram estudantes de uma mesma escola secundária em Ansan, ao sul de Seoul.

Obama chegou na tarde de sexta-feira à Casa Azul, residência presidencial da Coreia do Sul, e presenteou a presidente da Coreia do Sul, Park Geun-hye, com uma bandeira norte-americana que estava no topo da Casa Branca no dia que o navio afundou. A sua primeira visita à Coreia do Sul desde que Park assumiu o poder se destina a discutir temas como a relação com o Norte, mas Obama assinalou que a viagem ocorre em um período de "grande tristeza". "Muitos eram estudantes jovens que tinham toda a vida pela frente", afirmou Obama, citando suas duas filhas, com idade próxima de muitas vítimas do naufrágio. "Posso apenas imaginar o que os pais estão enfrentando nesse momento, a dor horrível."

Park traçou um paralelo entre a forma como os norte-americanos se uniram depois dos ataques de 11 de Setembro e a resiliência dos sul-coreanos após um dos maiores desastres marítimos da história do país. "O povo coreano tira grande força da sua gentileza", afirmou a líder a Obama. O presidente dos EUA também disse que doará um árvore de magnólia do jardim da Casa Branca para a Escola Secundária Danwon, em Ansan, como tributo às vidas que se perderam e um símbolo da amizade entre os EUA e a Coreia do Sul.

Onze membros da tripulação, incluindo o capitão, foram presos por suspeita de negligência ou abandono de pessoas em necessidade. O procurador Yang Jung-jin, da equipe de investigação, disse hoje que a causa do naufrágio pode ter sido virada em ângulo maior do que o normal, estiva indevida de carga, modificações feitas no navio e/ou influência das marés. Segundo ele, os investigadores irão determinar a causa por meio da consulta com especialistas e simulações. Fonte: Associated Press.

09:53 AS--SKorea-Ship Sinking, 3rd Ld-Writethru,943<

Internacional

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SKorea: We mismatched bodies from ferry disaster

AP Photo LJM116, LJM120, TOK320, SEL103, SEL108, SEL110, LJM114, LJM110,

LJM112, SEL107, SEL801, LJM111<

Eds: Links new photos. AP Video. With AP Photos.

By JUNG-YOON CHOI and YOUKYUNG LEE

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ As visiting President Barack Obama offered South

Koreans his condolences Friday for the ferry disaster, the South Korean

government conceded that some bodies have been misidentified and announced

changes to prevent such mistakes from happening again.

There have been several reports in South Korean media this week of bodies

going to the wrong families, with the error sometimes caught only after the

remains were taken to a funeral home. An ``action plan'' released by the

government-wide emergency task force acknowledged that ``there have been cases

where the victims were wrongly transferred.''

Remains will be transferred to families when there is a match using DNA

testing or fingerprint or dental records, the task force said. The transfer

will be temporary when a body is matched though identification or physical

description, and authorities will wait for more authoritative evidence before

making the transfer permanent.

Divers have recovered 183 bodies so far, but 119 remain missing and are feared

dead in the dark rooms of the submerged vessel.

Search officials including a navy spokesman and a diver said 35 of the ferry's

111 rooms have been searched so far, Yonhap news agency reported. They said 48

of the bodies recovered were found were in a single large room built to

accommodate 38.

The ferry sank April 16 on its way from Incheon port to the southern tourist

island of Jeju. More than 80 percent of the 302 dead and missing are students

from a single high school in Ansan, south of Seoul.

Obama arrived Friday afternoon at the Blue House, South Korea's presidential

residence, and presented President Park Geun-hye with an American flag that

flew over the White House the day the ship sank. His first South Korean visit

since Park took office last year was aimed at issues including North Korea,

but he noted that his trip comes at a time of ``great sorrow.''

``So many were young students with their entire lives ahead of them,'' Obama

said, invoking his two daughters, both close in age to many of the ferry

victims. ``I can only imagine what the parents are going through at this

point, the incredible heartache.''

Accepting the flag, Park drew a parallel between the way Americans pulled

together after the 9/11 attacks and the resilience of South Koreans following

one of the worst maritime disasters in their country's history.

``The Korean people draw great strength from your kindness,'' she said.

Obama also said he was donating a magnolia tree from the White House lawn to

Danwon High School in Ansan in honor of the lives lost and as a symbol of

friendship between the U.S. and South Korea.

Eleven crew members, including the captain, have been arrested on suspicion of

negligence and abandoning people in need. Prosecutor Yang Jung-jin of the

joint investigation team said Friday that the cause of the sinking could be

due to excessive veering, improper stowage of cargo, modifications made to the

ship and tidal influence. He said investigators will determine the cause by

consulting with experts and simulations.

The ferry Sewol was carrying an estimated 3,608 tons of cargo, said Moon

Ki-han, a vice president at Union Transport Co., which loaded its cargo.

That's also more than three times what an inspector who examined the vessel

during a redesign said it could safely carry. It also far exceeds what the

captain claimed in paperwork: 150 cars and 657 tons of other cargo, according

to the coast guard.

The Korean Register of Shipping inspector's report said that changes made to

the ship meant that it had to carry no more than about 1,000 tons of cargo,

while taking on more than 2,000 tons of water as ballast to ensure stability.

Before the modifications, the report said, the ship could handle more than

2,500 tons of cargo and needed only about 1,000 tons of water ballast.

Yet the coast guard says shipowner Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd. reported cargo

capacity of 3,963 tons _ a number unchanged from that reported by the Sewol's

previous Japanese owner before the ship was redesigned. It was unclear why the

earlier maximum tonnage noted in the register document was lower than that

provided by either owner.

A naval architecture expert said Friday that the reported load could have set

the ship tipping over with a significant turn. Tracking data show the ship

turned 45 degrees before sinking, and crew members have reportedly said that

they had tried to make a much less severe turn.

``The ship would suddenly fall even with just a small turn. It should not make

a sharp turn,'' said Lee Kyu Yeul, professor emeritus in ship and offshore

plant design at Seoul National University's Department of Naval Architecture

and Ocean Engineering. ``It should make a huge circle with 1 or 2 degrees of

turn, but (the Sewol) made a small circle. So it fell.''

Officials with South Korea's maritime ministry and coast guard each said they

were not aware of the Sewol's cargo capacity, and that it was the shipping

association's job to oversee it. The shipping association is private and is

partly funded by the industry it regulates.

An official at the shipping association declined to talk to media by phone,

saying it is under investigation by prosecutors.

Prosecutors have raided and seized documents at the Korean Register of

Shipping and the Korea Shipping Association, which regulates and oversees

departures and arrivals of domestic passenger ships, according to officials at

both organizations who spoke on condition of anonymity becaus they were not

authorized to speak about matters under investigation.

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