Friday, 18 April 2014

by Chua Zi, Form 5 Science 1, Class of 2014

Credit: Reuters
"Mom, I'm sending you this now because I'm afraid I might not be able to say it later. I love you."

On Wednesday, a ferry carrying more than 400 passengers sank off South Korea’s southern coast. This young man was on it.

Rescue workers were dispatched on Thursday, rushing to save the hundreds still trapped inside the sunken ferry. Of those on board, most were second year high school students and teachers from Seoul embarking on a four-day field trip to Jeju — a popular resort island destination. 179 were rescued, while nearly 300 people remain missing. So far, 14 have been found dead. 

The ferry was three hours to the island when it sent a distress signal at 8.58 a.m. local time on Wednesday. Several survivors claimed to have heard a loud noise before the ship started tilting.

The CNN reports that the ferry, named Sewol took two hours to capsize and sink completely, leaving ample time for the passengers to jump off. However, they received a puzzling announcement instructing them to remain in their seats. Help was supposed to arrive in 10 minutes. As the ship sank, they faced a terrifying dilemma: to jump into the 10 degree Celsius water, or to obey the crew’s orders. “We were wearing life jackets, we had time,” said a survivor, who criticized the evacuation effort.

Credit: Reuters
According to one survivor, those who moved were the ones who survived. Some made their way to the top of the ferry and were rescued while helicopter crews spotted those on the deck. Fishing boats and other vessels frantically rushed to the capsizing ship and pulled out others still in the water. The reason the ship sank, and so rapidly, has not been established.

Sailors, marines, private divers, police officers, helicopter crews and passing fishermen are all participating in the rescue effort. But considering the frigid waters, poor visibility and the deteriorating state of the ferry, the operation is further complicated and the death toll is expected to rise. The government of President Park Geun-hye is being tested by this incident, which has already been called one of the worst peacetime disasters of South Korea. “We must not give up,” she said on Wednesday.

“I am really sorry and deeply ashamed,” said the captain of the ferry on a South Korean television network.
by Anonymous 18:25 7 comments | in , , , ,


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