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6 confirmed dead, many more missing

Wednesday - 4/16/2014, 6:00pm  ET

MOKPO, South Korea (AP) -- Six people are now confirmed dead, but there are fears that many more victims will be found in the aftermath of the sinking of a South Korean ferry carrying nearly 500 people -- many of them high school students on a class trip.

Nearly 300 are still missing after the ferry sank today off the southern coast of South Korea. Divers, helicopters and boats are continuing to search for possible survivors.

One survivor says as the ferry filled with water and listed on its side, the crew told passengers to wait for rescuers. But he says he and some other passengers floated to an exit as their breathing room disappeared, and they swam to a nearby fishing boat.

Another survivor says he's sure many people were trapped inside the ferry as the water rushed in, and that the severe tilt of the vessel kept them from reaching the exits. He tells a broadcaster (YTN) that more people might have escaped, had the crew not told people to remain in place.

It's not known why the ferry sank. The coast guard is interviewing the captain and crew.

%@AP Links

150-r-34-(Sound of rescuers on board boat engaged in rescue operations, from video supplied by South Korean network YTN)--Sound of rescuers pulling survivors of the boat accident from the waters below, during a rescue operation by ships and helicopters. ((actual cut length is :27 seconds)) (16 Apr 2014)

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129-r-20-(Sound of helicopter above sinking ship, from South Korean Coast Guard video)--This is sound of a helicopter above the sinking ship as passengers were lifted by other choppers and scrambled into rescue boats. (16 Apr 2014)

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GRAPHICSBANK: SOUTH KOREA FERRY DISASTER lettering, over life ring, on texture, finished graphic (16 Apr 2014)

APPHOTO SEL826: South Korean coast guard officers try to rescue passengers from a ferry sinking in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. The ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving nearly 300 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUT (16 Apr 2014)

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