By Park Si-soo
Rescuers were unable to find additional survivors Monday in seas off a breakwater in Jukdo, Boryeong, South Chungcheong Province, where a giant tidal wave claimed nine lives and injured 27, Sunday.
About 700 personnel, alongside divers and helicopters were mobilized from early Monday morning to search for 13 people still listed as missing.
Local authorities initially announced a total of 50 had been swept into the seas by the abnormally high tidal wave, but concluded the actual number was uncertain as the former was based on witnesses' statements.
The exact cause of the tidal wave is still puzzling meteorologists and experts.
The Korean Meteorology Administration (KMA) said a fast moving underwater current being blocked by the breakwater could have created the wave. However, oceanographers refute this, saying the breakwater was incidental to the incident.
``No earthquakes were detected at the time and the velocity of the wind then ranged between 0.5-4 meters per second. Thus, weather conditions were not directly responsible for the tidal wave,'' the KMA said Sunday, adding ``it might have been a man-made disaster.''
But professors of oceanography said the artificial structure had nothing to do with the incident.
Prof. Lee Jong-seop at Pukyong National University said the breakwater had stood there for a long time, but no other waves had been reported in the past. ``This means other unaccountable factors triggered the event.''
Also, Prof. Choi Byeong-ho at Sungkyunkwan University said that he didn't think the breakwater caused the wave. ``We need to review various factors to discover its origin,'' he said.
Witnesses said the tidal wave that slammed into the breakwater was at least 10 meters high. ``The sea water receded at once like an ebb tide and then a high wave smashed into the breakwater and rocks sweeping anglers and tourists into the sea,'' a witness said.