April 16, 2014 8:43 am

10 heartbreaking photos as South Korea ferry sinks

In this image taken from video released by News Y via Yonhap, passengers from a ferry sinking off South Korea's southern coast, are rescued by a South Korean Coast Guard helicopter in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

AP Photo/Yonhap

TORONTO – At least four people are confirmed dead and 55 injured in a ferry sinking off South Korea.

Authorities say the number of missing suggests the death toll could be substantially higher.

READ MORE: ‘Heartbreaking’ texts sent from South Korea ferry are fake: report

The ferry was carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island.

Nearly 300 people are still unaccounted for.

In this photo released by South Korea Coast Guard via Yonhap News Agency, South Korean rescue team boats and fishing boats try to rescue passengers.

AP Photo/South Korea Coast Guard via Yonhap

A relative waits for their missing loved one at a port.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Some 160 coast guard and navy divers were searching for survivors inside the ship’s wreckage, a few kilometres from the shore of Byeongpung Island, which is not far from the mainland.

The high number of people unaccounted for, likely trapped in the ship or floating in the ocean, raised fears that the death toll could rise drastically, making it one of South Korea’s biggest ferry disasters since 1993 when 292 people died.

A mother weeps as she and others search for their children’s names among a list of survivors.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

In this handout image provided by the Republic of Korea Coast Guard, passengers are rescued by the Republic of Korea Coast Guard.

he Republic of Korea Coast Guard via Getty Images

Rescuers clambered over its sides, pulling out passengers wearing orange life jackets.

Those rescued were brought to nearby Jindo Island, where medical teams wrapped them in pink blankets and checked them for injuries before settling them down on the floor of a cavernous gymnasium hall.

“The water started to flow over the fences, and I instinctively felt that I definitely needed to get out of the ship,” said one rescued passenger who was being treated by medics. “So I tried breaking the window at the front of cabin using a fire extinguisher, hitting it three times, but it wouldn’t break.”

In this image taken from video from Mokpo Coast Guard, passengers are rescued by South Korean Coast guard.

AP Photo/Yonhap

A relative weeps as she waits.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

South Korean coast guard officers try to rescue passengers.

AP Photo/Yonhap

In this image made from video from South Korean Coast Guard, a passenger is rescued and hoisted onto a Coast Guard helicopter.

AP Photo/South Korean Coast Guard via AP Video

South Korean rescue helicopters fly over, trying to rescue passengers from the ship.

AP Photo/Yonhap

– with a file from The Associated Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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