News / Asia

Wrenching Video Scenes Show S. Korean Students as Ferry Sinks

Related Video Report of Sinking Ferryi
|| 0:00:00
May 01, 2014 5:31 PM
VIDEO: Footage shows the last moments of young passengers as the South Korean ferry Sewol capsizes
VIDEO: Footage shows the last moments of young passengers as the South Korean ferry Sewol capsizes (courtesy of Associated Press).
VOA News
Soon after the ferry begins to tilt, nervous laughter can be heard from the high school students huddled below deck. In video clips from the cellphone of a victim of a disaster that has shaken South Korea, the teenagers talk of taking selfies, wonder if they'll make the news and discuss posting on Facebook.

The fear in the cabin builds as the listing becomes worse. Some say they feel dizzy, that their legs are shaking. One student can be seen walking with his hands braced against the wall for balance.
"Am I really going to die?'' a student asks at 8:53 a.m. April 16, less than two minutes into the video and two minutes before a crew member on the bridge made the ferry's first distress call.

Maritime police search for missing passengers in front of the South Korean ferry "Sewol" which sank at the sea off Jindo April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-JiMaritime police search for missing passengers in front of the South Korean ferry "Sewol" which sank at the sea off Jindo April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Maritime police search for missing passengers in front of the South Korean ferry "Sewol" which sank at the sea off Jindo April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Maritime police search for missing passengers in front of the South Korean ferry "Sewol" which sank at the sea off Jindo April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
The Sewol ferry sank on a routine trip south from the port of Incheon to the traditional holiday island of Jeju. More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers on a field trip from the Danwon High School on the outskirts of Seoul, have died or are missing and presumed dead.
The confirmed death toll from the ferry disaster on Thursday stood at 213 with about 90 people still unaccounted for.
Footage provided by Newstapa, a website run by Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, contains a conversation between students on board describing the moment of sinking.
“The ship is leaning! Yo, help me!''
“It's leaning this way. I can't move.''
“Nonsense. I want to get off. I mean it.''
“Why are you getting your life jacket? You're stupid. We don't want to die. We don't want to die.''
Passengers were directed to hold their positions, not to evacuate.
“Do not move from your current location,'' an unidentified crew member said through loudspeaker.
Some students did not take it seriously and sang a theme song from the movie “Titanic.”
Another student left a last message to parents.
“Please if only I could live. Mom, Dad, I love you.''
The shaky video was on the cellphone of a 17-year-old student, Park Su-hyeon, when rescuers recovered his body. The boy's father provided it Thursday to The Associated Press, saying he wanted to show the world the ship's condition as it sank. Park Jong-dae, the boy's father, earlier released it to select South Korean media.

Only one can be seen wearing a life jacket at the beginning of the video clips, which start at 8:52 a.m. and end, with a small break between them, at 9:09, when everyone appears to be wearing them.
In the video, some of the students struggle to buckle their life jackets. As the ferry lists, they joke about “final commemorative pictures” and “defying gravity” by trying to walk on the walls.
At the beginning of the video, a message blasts from the ship's loudspeakers: “Don't move away from your places and brace for any possible accidents.''
In subsequent announcements, passengers are again told to stay put, even as some students question whether they should flee. The last message from the bridge comes at 9:08: “We're again announcing: For passengers who can wear life vests, please wear them now. Never move away from your places.''
That warning came eight minutes after a Sewol crew member told a marine traffic official, “The body of the ship has tilted, and it's impossible to move,” according to a transcript.
After the bridge ordered passengers to stay in their cabins, Capt. Lee Joon-seok took at least half an hour to order an evacuation. It is unclear whether that order was ever relayed to passengers. Lee has said he delayed evacuation because of worries about sending passengers into cold waters and fast currents before rescuers arrived.
Lee can be seen in a separate video released by the coast guard leaping from the ferry in his underwear onto a rescue boat while many passengers were still in the sinking ship.
The captain and 14 others responsible for the ferry's navigation have been detained on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Prosecutors are investigating whether stability issues related to too much cargo or a redesign that added more cabins to the ship contributed to the sinking.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Kit from: Australia
May 02, 2014 11:57 PM
Get a grip, it's not 'murder' to any rationally minded person on the planet, however it is a horrendous and tragic outcome resulting from lack of safety planning drills etc on behalf of the company and most of the crew. The captain shld have identified himself when the rescuers arrived and made it clear to them how many students were trapped, why were ropes dropped into the galleys to pull kids out and windows smashed from the outside to get them out?? And you can't show the faces of the poor kids, who wants to happen across the last dying moments of their son or daughter, the kids videod are not necessarily the ones doing the filming, so you can see how a family member could unwittingly be exposed to traumatising footage, also the families need some privacy, these kids don't belong to the world now, they still belong to their families, no one else.

by: Joshua from: California
May 02, 2014 7:52 AM
This was clearly murder on the part of the crew. I don't know why they are censoring the faces of the dead though.
In Response

by: alvin a percy from: sacramento, calif
May 03, 2014 1:22 AM
clearly, the captain as well as the crew was at fault. the minute the ship tilted , orders or not that was the time to start bailing out. the captain and crew should not have hesitated for a second. till help arrived in minutes the ocean is the best place instead of the ferry,
In Response

by: Emily from: Windsor, ON
May 02, 2014 12:53 PM
I just said that to my boyfriend a few minutes ago.

by: abdulai kargbo from: freetown,sierra leone
May 01, 2014 3:27 PM
I wish to express my sympathy to the families of the school children who lost their lives.

by: Menis from: Ny
May 01, 2014 2:25 PM
The captain abandoned the ship and the passengers so he committed a very serious crime and must be tried and EXECUTED!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs