Students' leader on doomed ferry found hanging from tree

SEOUL, South Korea -- A high school vice principal who had been rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry was found hanging Friday from a pine tree on an island where survivors have been housed, police said.

He was the leader of a group of 325 students traveling on the ship on a school excursion, and said in a suicide note that he felt guilty for being alive while more than 200 of his students were missing.

The vice principal was identified as Kang Min-kyu. In his suicide note, he said he wanted to take responsibility for what happened because he had led the trip, according to police. He asked that his body be cremated and the ashes scattered at the accident site.

Besides the teacher, at least 28 people are now confirmed dead from the ferry, the Sewol, which sank Wednesday.

Officials said there were 179 survivors and about 270 people remain missing, many of them high school students. With the chances of survival becoming slimmer by the hour, it was shaping up to be one of South Korea's worst disasters, made all the more heartbreaking by the likely loss of so many young people, aged 16 or 17.

CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports that emotions boiled over Friday at a gymnasium in Jindo, where relatives have been waiting for word, watching the news on giant screens.

"My heart is twisted," a 19-year-old woman told CBS News. Her 17-year-old sister was on the ferry. She and her mother have been in Jindo since the ferry sank. They have mats to sleep on, but they have not slept much.

The ship had left the northwestern port of Incheon on Tuesday on an overnight journey to the holiday island of Jeju in the south with 475 people aboard.

It capsized within hours of the crew making a distress call to the shore at 9 a.m. Soon, only its dark blue keel jutted out over the surface. By late Friday, even that had disappeared, and rescuers floated two giant beige buoys to mark the area. Navy divers attached underwater air bags to the 6,852-ton ferry to prevent it from sinking further, the Defense Ministry said.

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