Maui divers travel to South Korea to aid in ferry search
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Two and a half months after the Seoul ferry disaster, Maui divers Todd and Tiffany Winn are headed to South Korea to help search for bodies.
Their team will look for 11 missing victims from the April tragedy that killed more than 300 people.
"It'd be really nice to give the families a little bit of peace" says Tiffany Winn. "It's a pretty awful tragedy."
Her husband Todd added, "They may have been swept off the ship or they may be inside. There are substantial areas of the vessel that have not been searched."
South Korea's government requested the Winns' expert diving team explore the wreckage.
Their self-contained equipment allows them to stay underwater at depths of 100 feet for up to 6-hours, without an attachment.
Three divers have died so far in the challenging recovery effort.
Todd says of taking the dangerous assignment, "We talked about it. Even though there's a great amount of risk, it's the right thing to do."
The couple described the challenges, saying "It's up at an angle, upside down. That's part of the problem. Swimming through a boat that's inverted is confusing."
On top of that, they'll encounter heavy current, cold water, and overstuffed cargo that's shifted. Todd explained why that's a concern. He told us, "the vast majority of cargo will be over our heads while we're diving. I'm crossing my fingers that there won't be any deck failures."
It's a painstaking process, going through the entire 480 foot ferry by feel, because visibility is so poor.
Todd summed up his hopes this way, "Best case is we're able to recover some of the bodies for the families and they can put some of their grief to rest. I think the worst outcome for the families is that we don't find anyone and have searched the entire ship that means the bodies of their loved ones are lost."