ANSAN, South Korea - A vice principal who was rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry was found hanging from a tree on Friday as loved ones gathered at his school to post messages for hundreds of students missing in the disaster.
"The deputy head of this school saved himself on the ship but not his students," a distraught woman at Danwon High School told NBC News. "No-one from this school is going to the hospital or the rescue area. Why not? Why aren't you doing anything?"
The passengers of the ferry that capsized on Wednesday included 325 students from the high school who had heading to a southern island on a four-day field trip.
STAFF / Reuters
Messages left by fellow students are stuck to the classroom windows of students missing in the South Korean ferry disaster at Danwon High School in Ansan on Friday.
Students, some wearing their brown and cream uniforms, wept and posted emotional messages of condolence in the hallway, doors and windows near the classrooms of missing students, which were locked.
One yellow ribbon was tied around a soccer goalpost at the front of the school.
A police officer said the vice principal, Kang Min-gyu, had been missing since Thursday and appeared to have hanged himself with his belt from a tree outside a gym where relatives of the people missing on the ship were gathered.
Police said Kang, 52, did not leave a suicide note and that they started looking for him after he was reported missing.
The announcement of the death was greeted with shock by those at the school.
Officials have confirmed 28 deaths in the ferry disaster. But that number is expected to rise sharply. About 270 people are missing. Ten students and three teachers from Danwon have been confirmed dead.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
First published April 18 2014, 3:16 AM
Bill Neely is NBC News chief global correspondent. He joined NBC News from Britainâ€™s ITV News in January 2014. Neely was ITV News international editor for 11 years. Over the course of 30 years in journalism, he has covered more than a dozen wars and conflicts from Northern Ireland to Syria, and has been embedded regularly with U.S. and British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union and he has reported more than a dozen natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami, and the deadly earthquakes in China, Haiti, and Pakistan. During his six years as ITV News Washington correspondent, which spanned the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clintonâ€™s first term, he covered key stories in the U.S. such as the Oklahoma City bombings, the Atlanta Olympics, and the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. He later closely followed the aftermath of 9/11 and, most recently, Superstorm Sandy.
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His reports from across the globe have earned many prestigious awards, including numerous Royal Television Society awards, an Emmy for coverage of the 2008 earthquake in China, and an unprecedented three consecutive BAFTA awards, the British equivalent of the Oscars, for his work in China, Haiti, and the U.K.