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2 dead, hundreds missing after South Korean ferry sinks

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Two people are confirmed dead and 295 are missing after a passenger ferry slowly sank off the southwest coast of South Korea on Wednesday. South Korean officials had said earlier that only about 100 passengers were unaccounted for. The death toll is expected to rise.

A majority of the 474 passengers on board were high school students, and many of them were rescued after jumping into the freezing water. According to CNN, authorities are unable to say what caused the ship to sink. The ferry, which was headed from the port city of Incheon to the resort island of Jeju, sent out a distress signal at around 9 a.m. local time (8 p.m. ET).

One student, Lim Hyung Min, told South Korean cable news network YTN that he heard a bump, and then the ferry began to sink. Everyone was instructed to put on a life jacket and jump into the water. "I had to swim a bit to get to the boat to be rescued," he said. "The water was so cold and I wanted to live." --Catherine Garcia