By Laura Barron-Lopez - 04/26/14 11:12 PM EDT
South Korean Prime Minister Jung Hong-won resigned on Sunday over the government's handling of a deadly ferry sinking, citing the slow initial response that left more than 300 people dead or missing.
Early reports said Chung offered to resign early Sunday morning, but during a press conference shortly after Chung detailed his decision, apologizing to the victims' families and stating his plans to resign as prime minister, CNN reports.
Chung also encouraged South korea to stand united.
"Please come together as one for the recovery efforts," he said. "As I saw grieving families suffering with the pain of losing their loved ones and the sadness and resentment of the public, I thought I should take all responsibility as prime minister."
Chung is the first hug-profile public figure to step down following the disaster and response.
Eleven days after the April 16, disaster and researchers are still searching for passengers and crew aboard the Sewol ferry. So far, 187 bodies have been found, another 115 remain missing.