Sewol Ferry Tragedy
325 students waited patiently on the sinking M.V. Sewol to be rescued. They were told to stay calm and to remain on the boat. Most students followed the directions. However, the students that disobeyed were the only ones to survive and tell their stories.
443 passengers were on the Sewol ferry, most of whom were 10th-grade students of Danwon high school. The students were going to Jeju island for a bit of fun right before their college entrance exams. The students were excited since they had all studied so hard and were in need of a break. Unfortunately, on April 16, 2014, the boat made too sharp of a turn and fell lopsided. A few passengers started making emergency calls and were told to stay calm and state their location. Since they were in the middle of the sea it was hard to tell so they went to ask the captain. The operator on the emergency calls told the captain to order an evacuation. The captain waited another 10 minutes before making the order, but most survivors don’t remember the order at all. After making the order, the captain abandoned the ship and left everyone else to die.
Many student survivors said that the only order they heard was “Please don’t move, stay put”. Students are taught to obey the laws so of course, they stayed put. Students were making jokes and taking photos since they were promised everything would be okay. As time went by, a few students grew suspicious so they decided to go to the deck to check. They were urged to get on lifeboats when they reached the deck
. Even though they told other passengers and crew members that their class was still in the boat, nobody went to get them. More time would pass and eventually, students were standing on their suitcases. They finally realized that they were in trouble. One survivor said that as they were trying to escape, cabinets that were separating rooms collapsed which helped her and a few others escape. She would be one of the last passengers to escape the Sewol ferry.
Out of the 304 passengers that passed away, 205 were students. The captain was charged with gross negligence and was sentenced to 36 years. When the media got a hold of the story, everyone was outraged. Some questions that aroused were “ why didn’t anyone try to help them”, “why did the captain get such a low sentence”, and “why didn’t rescuers come sooner”. To this day, people all around the world protest and fight to bring these students justice.