A small remotely operated camera vehicle by a Canadian firm is helping in the recovery effort of bodies from the Sewol ferry tragedy
Photo Credit: supplied by Deep Trekker

Canadian technology helping in South Korean ferry disaster.

Canadian technology is helping searchers in the tragic recovery effort of bodies from the sunken South Korean ferry.

South Korea coast guard rescuers raced on April 16 to the ferry Sewol, which was traveling to Jeju Island. Most of the students could have been saved, but announcements told them to stay put in he cabins, even as the ship was clearly doomed. © (Republic of Korea Coast Guard/Getty)

 The ship, Sewol, capsized on April 16 with 476 people on board. Confusion and conflicting commands meant that many of the hundreds of students on board remained in their cabins even as the ship was sinking.

Although some 220 bodies have been recovered, divers have been unable as yet to reach about 22 of the 66 passenger cabins deep within the ship.

Technology in the form of a small, basketball-zized remote underwater vehicle developed by a company in Ontario is helping.

With its small size, and weighing only 10kg, the battery operated vehicle is being used to scout safe passages for the divers, who are dealin with strong currents, murky waters, and a ship filled with various kinds of floating debris.

The robot device created by the Ontario company, Deep Trekker was available quickly in the rescue and recovery effort thanks to a dealer in South Korea.

At least one body was found by a fishing boat some 1.5 kilometers from the ferry. Officials put a screen around the ship, but there are that some of the dead may never be recovered.

The Sewol’s regular captain, who was  not on duty on the day of the accident, has told prosecutors that the ferry operator had “brushed aside” repeated warnings that the 20-year-old ship had stability issues following a renovation in 2012.

Other concerns are that the ship was carrying an overcapacity cargo load, including vehicles that were not tied down and which may have shifted during a turn. Adding to the allegations of instability, were additions in 2012 to the third fourth and fifth decks to increase the passenger capacity, and which added another 239 tons  to the upper levels.

(with files from CBC)

Categories: International, Internet, Science & Technology

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