Monthly Archives: May 2014

National disaster: South Korea’s ferry victims

For Koreans, May used to be a happy and pleasant month spending time with families due to the nice weather and great holidays such as Children’s day and Parents’ day.  However, this time has changed for Koreans to be depressed and miserable since last month after a ferry sank.

More than 240 people lost their lives and 54 people are missing from the ferry sinking on 16, April 2014 in Jindo, South Korea. Of the 429 passengers on board, more than 300 were students travelling from a high school to Jeju island, Korea. The high school organised a school trip for students in their first and second years who were 16 or 17 years old. Among those, 78 students were rescued, however most students in the ferry followed the captain’s initial order to remain in their seats, triggering a terrible but avoidable tragedy.

Several rescued passengers said they had not realised the ferry was sinking until the ferry suddenly tilted on its side. The cause of the accident has not yet been identified, although rescued passengers stated the ferry came to a sudden, shuddering halt, which may indicate a tight turn may have triggered the accident.

The captain of the ferry, Lee Joon Seok and 10 crew members have been arrested on charges ranging from criminal negligence to abandoning passengers and escaping the ferry immediately, violating the marinetime law of securing the safety of passengers first.

Although all hope of finding survivors has been extinguished due to the delayed salvage operations, there is still considerable anger and frustration among family members of the missing and this feeling has been spreading to all Koreans.

Lily Woo (Korean Teacher)

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May 2014
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