News / Asia

Teen Survivors Tell of Chaos as South Korea Ferry Sank

A mother and her daughter tie yellow ribbons with messages for missing passengers and victims aboard the sunken ferry Sewol in the water off the southern coast, at a group memorial altar in Seoul, South Korea, July 28, 2014.
A mother and her daughter tie yellow ribbons with messages for missing passengers and victims aboard the sunken ferry Sewol in the water off the southern coast, at a group memorial altar in Seoul, South Korea, July 28, 2014.
VOA News

Nearly a dozen more students, who were among the 75 students to survive the Sewol ferry disaster, arrived at a local courthouse in Ansan, South Korea, on Tuesday for a second day of testimony against the 15 crew members who fled as the vessel sank off Jindo Island.

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.

Others testifying on Tuesday painted a similar scene of students helping one another as the ferry listed sharply and passengers and equipment were thrown around violently inside the cabin, while the crew repeated orders for them to stay put.

“Afterwards at the hospital, we met a grown-up passenger, who said the students obeyed the announcement like fools, while other people broke the windows to get out,” one student said. 

The six girls testifying 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.

The driver Yang was the last among a group of people close to Yoo who had been wanted for allegedly helping him elude South Korea's biggest manhunt.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jasmine from: Seoul
July 29, 2014 7:53 AM
I'm Korean and I wish to express my condolences to the victims.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid