South Korea ferry passengers who were told to stay put 'got trapped' aboard sinking ship
At least four people are dead and over 290 are missing after ferry capsized
Wednesday 16 April 2014
Passengers on the South Korea ferry that capsized were told to stay where they were before the ship sank, several survivors said, as it emerged schoolchildren trapped on board sent heart-breaking text messages to their parents as they realised what was happening.
Teams of divers worked through the night to search for the 290 people who remained unaccounted for after the MV Sewol sank off the south-western coast of South Korea. Some 325 school children were among the 475 people on board the vessel.
"Mom, this might be my last chance to tell you I love you," one youth said in a text message, according to the Los Angeles Times. His mother replied, but did not get an answer. Another pupil texted his father to say "Dad, I can't walk out because the ship is tilted too much, and I don't see anyone in the corridor", according to South Korea's YTN news channel.
And an 18-year-old girl reportedly sent a message to her father saying: "Don't worry too much dad, I am wearing a life vest and with my friends. I am inside. Still in the hallway." He replied asking whether she should go outside, but she said: "No dad, I can't go outside. There are many kids in the hallway, and it is tilted too high."
Several survivors said passengers were told to remain where they were after the ferry struck the reef. Initially it did not appear the vessel was in immediate danger of sinking.
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".
Parents search for their children's names among a list of survivors at Danwon high school in Ansan, South Korea
And a 57-year-old man, named as Yoo, told Yonhap News: "A broadcast said: 'Stay where you are.' But I couldn't because the water level was rising. I wore the safety jacket and came out. If they told us to evacuate immediately, it would have been better."
Koo Bon-hee, a 36-year-old businessman, said he and other passengers had waited for 30 minutes as the ferry filled with water and listed to one side, before floating to an exit and swimming to a fishing boat.
South Korea Coast Guard members rescuing some of the 477 passengers and crew aboard a South Korean ferry capsizing on its way to Jeju island from Incheon.
"The rescue wasn't done well. We were wearing life jackets. We had time," Mr Koo said from his hospital bed. "If people had jumped into the water... they could have been rescued. But we were told not to go out."
Officials said 174 people had been rescued, after initially reporting a much higher figure. Six people were confirmed dead and 55 were injured.
A sign of the difficulty of the search was that only four bodies had been recovered by nightfall - all picked up from the water, not the ship. The currents around the ferry impeded the search and, by early Wednesday, rescuers still were not able to get inside to see what had happened.
The school children and 15 teachers had boarded the vessel on Tuesday night at the west coast port of Incheon and slept on board. The ship was two hours away from its destination, the tourist island of Jeju. The children were due to spend a three-day holiday there.
South Korea coast guard head to stricken passengers aboard the sinking ship
Many of those rescued were children who had been ordered to line up and get into waiting boats. Others were told by the captain - believed to be among the survivors - to put on life jackets and jump into the sea.
Officials said that some of the missing may have stayed alive in air pockets in the submerged vessel as parents and relatives gathered in reception centres, schools and government buildings demanding answers and clutching at any shred of hope.
READ MORE: UNTIL THIS DISASTER SOUTH KOREA'S FERRY SAFETY RECORD FARED WELL
Four dead and almost 300 missing as mass rescue gets underway
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
Isis 'bulldozes' Nimrud: UNESCO condemns destruction of ancient Assyrian site as a 'war crime'
Professor Brian Cox brands astrology-believing Tory MP David Tredinnick an 'outlier on the spectrum of reason'
Lynch mob kills suspected rapist in India after dragging him naked for four miles through city
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...