South Korea ferry disaster: Body of boy who made first distress call is found, say parents

Boy was the first student to call for help minutes after the boat began listing

The parents of the boy who made the first distress call from aboard the sinking South Korea ferry believe his body has been found by divers, the coast guard has said.

The boy called an emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn transferred him to the coastguard shortly after the Sewol ferry began listing, according to local news reports.

"Save us! We're on a ship and I think it's sinking," the Yonhap News Agency quoted the boy as saying. His call was followed by about 20 other emergency calls from children on board the ship.

The parents are understood to have seen his body and named him as their son, but he has not yet been formally identified by DNA.

Almost 250 students and teachers from the Danwon High School have been confirmed dead or are presumed to have died after the ferry sank while travelling from Incheon to Jeju Island, carrying 476 people. A total of 174 passengers have been rescued since the incident on 16 April.

Angry relatives of some of those still missing surrounded the fisheries minister Lee Ju-young and the coast guard chief Kim Seok-kyun on Thursday, preventing them from leaving the area where families have been waiting for word of their loved ones.

The government has said the search is becoming more difficult because divers must now break through cabin walls to find more bodies. Many of the bodies already retrieved were in a larger lounge area.

Some of the family members shouted at the officials, accusing them of lying about the operation, demanding that the search continue through the night and asking why hundreds of civilian divers have not been allowed to join coast guard and navy personnel in searching for bodies

A boy and girl trapped in a sinking South Korean ferry with hundreds of other high school students tied their life jacket cords together, a diver who recovered their bodies said, presumably so they would not drift apart in the water.

Read more: Devastated students return to classes at Danwon High School

The diver had to separate the two because he could not carry both up to the surface at the same time.

"I started to cry thinking that they didn't want to leave each other," he told the Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper on Thursday.

Survivors have claimed passengers were told to stay on the ship as it listed. Cha Eun-ok, who was on the deck taking photographs at the time, said an “on-board announcement told people to stay put... people who stayed are trapped”.

Twenty-two of the 29 members of the ferry's crew survived, and 11, including Capt. Lee Joon-seok, have been arrested or detained in connection with the investigation.

Final year students at Danwon returned to classes today. Education officials said the first two days of classes will focus on helping students cope with losses and trauma, with help from psychiatrists and professional counsellors.

Additional reporting by agencies

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border