Among the 282 people missing are hundreds of teenage school children, believed to be trapped after the ferry sank about 20 kilometres off the south-west coast of the country.
I have to admit that when I first heard this story I wondered whether a North Korean submarine was responsible. Given the descriptions of what happened that seems implausible.
Instead it seems the ship drifted off course and hit a reef. Hopefully the cause will be established fairly quickly, although that will be faint comfort for the relatives of the missing.
I also note that the captain did a "Schettino" and got off the ship before most of the passengers.