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7 Dead as Search for Ferry Survivors Resumes Off South Korea

It isn't yet known what caused the Sewol to flip over in about 100 feet of water.

The search for almost 300 people — most of them schoolchildren — missing after a ferry sank off South Korea resumed Thursday morning under twin blankets of fog and fear.

Officials say fewer than 180 people of the 475 people aboard the ferry — many of them students and teachers on a class trip — have been rescued. Seven people were confirmed to have died, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration said Thursday morning — a number that was expected to rise sharply.

The Sewol was traveling from the northwestern port of Incheon to the southern island of Jeju when it flipped over late Tuesday in about 100 feet of water about 12 miles off the island of Byungpoong. It isn't yet known what caused the accident.

Agonized parents lined the shore off Jindo as rescue teams from several countries navigated the cold, rainy seas searching for clues.

The U.S. Navy said it had sent the USS Bonhomme Richard to assist with the search.

— M. Alex Johnson

Editor's Note: A Reuters story reporting that the father of a student had received a text message from on board the ship has been withdrawn after Reuters said the report was wrong.