South Korea ferry disaster: Harrowing footage emerges of students aboard sinking ferry

The video, which was found on a phone belonging to Park Su-hyeon, 17, shows the students initially joking before becoming gradually more concerned

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Harrowing footage has emerged from inside the doomed South Korean Sewol ferry just moments before it capsized, showing school students joking and laughing as the ship begins to list dramatically.

The video, which was found on a phone belonging to Park Su-hyeon, 17, shows the students initially joking before becoming gradually more concerned as the ferry becomes increasingly unstable.

At the end of the footage one child can be heard saying: "This looks like the end". Another heartbreakingly adds: "These are the pictures we need to take as our last memories," another boy says: "Mom, Dad, I love you."

More than 210 people have been confirmed dead following the accident of the southern island on Jindo more than two weeks ago. 89 people are still unaccounted for.

Officials have recovered bodies from as far as two kilometres from the site of the sinking prompting concerns that many of the missing may never be found.

The disturbing video footage from inside the Sewol ferry was released to South Korean television by the Park Su-hyeon's father, Park Jong-dae. Park Su-hyeon's body was recovered from the vessel by South Korean coast guard rescuers.

The group of teens in the video alternates between bluster, attempts at humor and unmistakable fear.

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.

As the ferry lists, they joke about "final commemorative pictures" and "defying gravity" by trying to walk on the walls.

The footage shows the students expressing fears about the ship's fate as other students appear to be unaware of the seriousness of the events unfolding. One student can be heard saying "This is fun" and another says "This is like Titanic."

The ferry then starts to list and shake. One of the boys can be heard saying: "I want to get off. We don't want to die."

A giant crane (L) that will lift up the sunken 'Sewol' ferry

The full 15-minute video was broadcast on South Korean television and has been viewed nearly 200,000 times on YouTube since being posted Monday evening. The faces of the passengers have been blurred to protect the identities of the victims, many of whom have still not been recovered.

Airing the footage television producer Choi Seung-ho described it as "by far the most heartbreaking scene I have seen in my 27-year broadcasting career.”

Several times the students are warned over the loudspeaker to stay where they are, even as the tilting increases and it becomes less possible for them to flee.

"I'm really scared," a student says at one point.

"Is it really sinking?" another asks. "Wow, they're giving us life vests."

"I'm getting out of here," one says. "Me too, me too," says another.

A student says: "We have to survive now."

"We're all finished. I have to leave some farewell words before I die," says another.

"Mom, I love you," says one.