South Korean Ferry Disaster: Final Moments Of Students Captured In Cellphone Video

A video of the South Korean ferry disaster that was made on a student's cellphone was just released by the Associated Press on YouTube. The three-minute long video shows teenagers inside the ferry talking to each other amidst nervous laughter. According to ABC News, some of the students even talk about selfies and were heard wondering if the "event" would make the news. Others were excited about the prospects of posting about the ferry later on Facebook. It seems, at least initially, the students were not aware of the grave danger they were in.

However, as the ferry starts listing badly, there is palpable tension in the air. In the conversation, there are people who are overheard saying that they are feeling dizzy and that their legs are shaking. In one instance, you can also see one of the students walking by the wall, using it for support; giving you a frightening idea how bad things became once the ferry started listing as it sunk.

There is even talk about the ferry becoming "a Titanic." Some students jokingly talk about final commemorative pictures. Meanwhile, other videos recovered from cellphones of the students inside the ferry have revealed a few clips that have been used to remember their last words. Some students aboard the ferry also gave a piece of advice to their siblings – asking them not to take school trips for their own safety.

"We're all finished. I have to leave some farewell words before I die," says a student, while another is overheard saying, "Mom, I love you."

The ABC News report also says that two minutes before the first distress call went out from the ferry at 8:53 am local time, the video shows a student asking, "Am I really going to die?" There are others who ask whether the ship would sink, while a few students wondered what the captain was doing. As it turned out later, the captain and some crew members had already abandoned ship.

What is perhaps even more disturbing is that the students are asked several times over the intercom to stay where they are. This was done even when the ferry had started listing very badly, and made walking and subsequent escape very difficult.

This video was captured by a 17-year-old student Park Su-hyeon inside the South Korean ferry from his cellphone. The phone was recovered when rescuers retrieved his body from the ferry. The video clip was given to select Korean media by Su-hyeon's father, Park Jong-dae, who asked them to blur faces of the students seen in the video out of respect for their families. The father wanted to show the conditions inside the ferry as it sunk.

The South Korean Ferry tragedy on April 16 claimed the lives of over 300 people, and so far, 220 bodies have been recovered from inside the sunken ferry. Most of the people on board the vessel were from one school in Ansen, a city south of Seoul, the capital of the country. The ferry was on its way to the tourist island of Jeju for a recreational trip.

The South Korean ferry's captain Lee Joon-seok is being blamed for delaying the decision to order an evacuation. In his defense, the captain said that his decision to delay it was because he didn't want the passengers to be sent into cold waters and fast currents before rescue vessels arrived. The captain was, however, seen in a Coast guard video leaping into a boat in his underwear.

Do you think the deaths in the South Korean ferry disaster could have been averted had the captain acted more responsibly?

[Image via Bing]