May.19 - South Korean President Park Geun-hye formally apologises for a ferry disaster last month that killed about 300 passengers, mostly school children, and said she will break up the coast guard. Sarah Toms reports.
Fighting back the tears in televised address to the nation....South Korean President Park Geun-hye remembered the victims of last month's ferry disaster in her most formal apology yet. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE SAYING: "I apologise to the nation for the pain and suffering that everyone felt, as the president who should have been responsible for the safety and lives of the people." The president said the coast guard had been a failure and that she would break it up, transferring rescue duties to a national emergency safety agency. Helicopters and boats came to the rescue of the overloaded ferry, which capsized after making a sharp turn. They only managed to save around one third of the 476 passengers on board. Most of them were children on a school trip. Some of the crew, including the captain, caught here on videotape, abandoned ship while the children were repeatedly told to stay put in their cabins. Parents said they accepted Park's decision but were worried that the search for the 18, who remain missing, would suffer in the transfer....but that's something Park and her administration can ill afford to do. They've been hit hard by an angry nation-wide outcry over the government's response to the country's worst civilian maritime disaster in 20 years.