News / Asia

Student Survivors of Ferry Sinking Continue Testimonies

Family members of victims on board sunken ferry Sewol sit in front of a building where crew members are detained, after attending a hearing at the local court in Gwangju, June 10, 2014.
Family members of victims on board sunken ferry Sewol sit in front of a building where crew members are detained, after attending a hearing at the local court in Gwangju, June 10, 2014.
VOA News

The students who survived the South Korean Sewol ferry disaster are continuing their dramatic testimony against 15 crew members who fled as the vessel sunk.

On the second day of testimony at the trial in Ansan on Tuesday, the teenagers spoke of the heroic actions of their classmates, who handed out life vests as the ship went down.

Other students told of how they were pulled to safety by fellow passengers who lowered strips of curtain and fire hoses into the ferry, which was leaning heavily to one side.  

All 75 children who survived the disaster are expected to give evidence at the trial, where the crew face charges ranging from murder to negligence for abandoning the ship.

On Monday, six teenage survivors, whose names were withheld to protect their privacy, described how they were given repeated orders not to move from their cabins.

The students from Danwon High School near Seoul revealed how chaotic the scene on the ferry was, saying they wore life jackets and were helped by friends to float out and leave flooded rooms. One of them said she saw some schoolmates swept away by the waters.

The six girls Monday were the first of 75 student survivors to give evidence in the trial at the Gwangju district court for two days, which has been moved to Ansan south of Seoul to accommodate the students.

Five of the students gave their evidence on Monday in the courtroom while one testified from another room via closed-circuit television.

Crew faces charges

The surviving crew members, including the captain, face charges ranging from homicide to negligence for abandoning the ship ahead of the passengers. Video footage of their escape triggered outrage across South Korea.

More than 300 people died after the ferry Sewol capsized on a routine trip on April 16, making it one of South Korea's worst civilian maritime disasters. Many of those killed were students from the same school on a class trip. Only 172 people, including  the 75 students, were rescued and the rest are presumed to have drowned.

Passengers on board the ferry had been told to stay on board as it was sinking.

The trial comes after businessman Yoo Byung-un, who heads the family that owned the sunken ferry operator, was found dead in June.

Last week, the country's forensic agency said it was impossible to determine the cause of death as the body was badly decomposed.

Earlier on Tuesday, Yoo Byun-un's driver, Yang Hoe-jung, turned himself in, which could potentially unlock the mystery of the man's final days after the disaster. 

Yang is thought by authorities to have been with Yoo, in the days before his body was found by a farmer at an orchard on June 12.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs