Just one hour into its scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (MH370) disappeared from civilian radar screens, and has not been seen since. The coverage of the ensuing conspiracy theories, search operations and false-finds has been constant and, at times, exhaustive.
We were touched by the mystery and sadness that comes with losing 239 of our brothers and sisters.
Not long after the MH370 disappearance, the Sewol ferry sank during a routine trip to Jeju Island in South Korea. Although it was initially reported that most of the 476 people on board had been rescued, it is now known that 187 people have died, with over 100 still unaccounted for. In fact, no survivors have been found since the Sewol sank on April 16, 2014.
Since the tragedy, all 15 members of the Sewol’s “navigational crew” have been arrested amidst claims of criminal negligence, with the ferry’s owner also facing an investigation in this regard. Furthermore, South Korean Prime Minister, Chung Hong-won, resigned in his bid to “take responsibility” and apologised for the failures associated with the “prevention of the accident to the early handling of the disaster”.
With over 100 people still missing, the death toll may approach 300. Although this is a tragedy in its own right, it is magnified by the possibility that it was preventable.
However, the Sewol disaster does not seem to have received the round-the-clock coverage afforded to the MH370 disappearance. What is it about the sinking of a ferry that has failed to capture the attention of the world press? Even though there was no “missing vessel” in the case of the Sewol ferry, the number of those declared to be dead or missing already exceeds those in MH370.
It just seems that the Sewol sank, and disappeared from our media and personal radars too.