Sewol Experienced Brief Blackout Before Capsizing

New evidence suggests that a power blackout may have caused the ferry Sewol to capsize and sink off the southwest coast last Wednesday.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on Monday analyzed the automatic identification system aboard the ferry and confirmed that it experienced a 36-second blackout just before it sank. The cause remains unknown.

A ministry official said, "We need to investigate to determine why the ship veered sharply to the right after the blackout."

Divers search the wreck of the ferry Sewol in waters off Jindo, South Jeolla Province on Monday. /Newsis Divers search the wreck of the ferry Sewol in waters off Jindo, South Jeolla Province on Monday. /Newsis

The ferry's third mate, Park Han-gyeol (26), who was navigating the Sewol at the time of the accident, told police she asked the helmsman to steer the vessel only five degrees to the right. The helmsman told police he followed Park's instructions, but the ship veered far more sharply.

Park, who was among the first to be rescued while hundreds of passengers remained trapped on board, has been arrested.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 22, 2014 09:13 KST