Image: Relatives of a passenger on board the capsized South Korean ferry Sewol
Nicolas Asfouri / AFP - Getty Images

TODAY   |  April 22, 2014

More than 100 confirmed dead in ferry crash

Investigators are still looking into what led to the ferry accident in South Korea as the death toll jumps to at least 104 people and is expected to climb. NBC’s Bill Neely reports.

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>>> let us get, though, now to today's top story. new details on what led to that ferry disaster in south korea , as the death toll now rises. nbc's bill neely is in south korea with the latest on this. bill, good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. the pace of the investigation here is quickening, with more crewmen detained. but there are still so many questions to be answered, and the pace of the recovery of the dead has quickened, too. by night, by day, every day, the search goes on. the number of bodies recovered exceeding 100 for the first time. but investigators are still in the dark about why exactly this disaster happened. nine of the ship's crew have now either been arrested or charged. one has tried to kill himself. investigators now say the first emergency call was made not by the crew, but within minutes by a very frightened boy onboard saying save us , we're sinking. the focus is shifting from the captain, who had ultimate responsibility, to the mistakes of several crew in the first crucial minutes. at 8:48, the ship is suddenly steered right. it loses balance, tilting. z seven minutes later, the first distress call , please come quickly, but the ship is listing fast. the crew tell passengers to stay inside. minutes later, more distress calls. we're about to sink. hundreds still trapped. a disaster in just two hours. u.s. navy helicopters and underwater cameras are now helping hundreds of divers search very murky waters. with no debris from the ship, nothing has come up to the surface. the only thing you can see is this oil slick , clearly from the ferry. this officer buried today died in the rescue. most of the ship's crew survived. most of the passengers, like 17-year-old yang aun-yu, did not. and that has outraged this country. even the president saying that the actions of the captain and some of the crew were like murder. we expect more of the crew to be charged here soon. back to you, matt.

>> all right, bill neely in south korea for us this morning. bill, thank you very much.