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Lawmakers to launch probe into ferry disaster

Ruling and opposition lawmakers will launch a probe into April's deadly ferry sinking this week, visiting families of the victims at a port near the shipwreck site, officials close to the investigation said Sunday.

A total of 18 members of the special parliamentary committee in charge of the probe will arrive at the port of Paengmok, on Jindo Island, on Monday afternoon, they said.

The lawmakers are scheduled to meet with relatives of more than
300 victims of the disaster to listen to their opinions and offer their condolences, as well as encourage divers in the search operation.

On Thursday, rival parties passed a motion to launch a 90-day special investigation into one of the nation's worst ferry disasters.

The planned visit was included in the motion upon the request of the families who recently traveled to Seoul to observe the motion's passage.

Public anger has been running high over charges that the government bungled its initial response to the sinking. Most of the victims were students from a high school near Seoul on a field trip to the southern resort island of Jeju.

The 6,825-ton Sewol was carrying an estimated 476 people aboard when it sank off the southwestern island of Jindo on April 16. (Yonhap) 
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