TODAY

TODAY   |  April 18, 2014

Arrest warrant issued for ferry captain

Families of the victims of a South Korean ferry carrying 459 passengers that capsized and sank Wednesday, killing 28 and leaving 268 still missing, are criticizing the captain of the ship. Reports say that he was not at the helm of the ship at the time of the incident, and was one of the first to flee the ailing vessel. CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reports.

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>>> on that ferry disaster in south korea . an arrest warrant sought for the boat's captain. cnbc's eunice yoon is on the island of jindo near the crash sight.

>> reporter: grief turned to anger. 179 have been rescued and 268 still missing. a prayer to the gods to calm the seas does little to ease the anger felt among families desperate to see their loved ones alive. this woman tells us her grandson was aboard the sunken ferry. she blames the captain, who investigators say was one of the first to flee the ailing vessel. they say he wasn't even at the helm at the time of the incident, that it was a third officer with just a year's experience.

>> translator: i don't care what any of them say. i just want the captain to come here.

>> reporter: the ship is now submerged. however, the authorities are pumping in oxygen, and divers like brandon joe are still searching for survivors.

>> it's impossible to go down, but we have to try. yeah, we have to sacrifice ourselves to save the people.

>> reporter: family members have been taking boats to get closer to the search. they're hoping like in so many other cases around the world that passengers can still be found even days later. like british sailor tony bulemor, who in 1997 survived in his overturned yacht for five days in an air bubble.

>> if there is oxygen in air-tight pockets, etc., there's every chance that there could be quite a few more survivors.

>> reporter: but at a nearby gym used to shelter the crowds of relatives, he is losing hope.

>> i heard about the air pocket . actually, i am very pessimistic.

>> reporter: as the search for a miracle continues this morning. and authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the captain in their investigation. also, most of the passengers onboard were students, and what we learned today was that the vice principal who is traveling with the students and survived the tragedy himself, today in a wooded area outside the gym hanged himself because he was overcome with grief. carson?

>> so sad. eunice yoon in south korea , thank you.