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2 men shouted ‘escape’ to save over 70 passengers from Sewol

2 men shouted ‘escape’ to save over 70 passengers from Sewol

Posted May. 06, 2014 05:33,   


Testimonies by survivors have newly revealed that shouting “Let’s escape” by certain passengers at the time of the Sewol ferry’s sinking spread to other passengers, enabling more than 70 people to survive.

At 10:15 a.m. on April 16, the hull of the Sewol listed more than 110 degrees, reversing the floor and ceiling and the right hand side and left hand side, and causing passengers to lose a sense of direction and leaving them completely confused. When the third floor, whose floor and ceiling was reversed, was instantly inundated with seawater, two passengers namely Han Seung-seok (37), a truck driver from Jeju, and an unidentified man who were staying around the information desk shouted loudly first “Let’s escape.” Han told The Dong-A Ilbo on Monday, “When I looked around, I spotted a door 3 meters high and 2 meters wide on the left hand side (originally right hand side) open, and I shouted passengers to escape.”

Soon after starting to evacuate the area, passengers passed through the door, with their legs soaked with water. However, as water instantly flooded in, the door was submerged. Kang Byeong-ki (41), a self-employed person from Shiheung in Gyeonggi Province, shouted "escape," and pushed more than 10 students to dive. Park (16), an 11th grader from Danwon High School, said, “The moment water inundated the third floor corridor, I dived upon hearing shouting by those men, and some five seconds later, I saw light.”

As third and fourth floors are open space in the form of a hall, the shouting “Let’s escape” spread to the fourth floor as well. More than 30 passengers on the fourth floor dived towards the door and escaped, and seawater spurting out from the vessel pushed them out. Kang said, “As the door was almost completely submerged, I could no longer rescue and hence evacuated myself from the cabin. I still feel sorry because I could not rescue other students there.”

There were helping hands of people, who were pulling passengers who dived to escape from the third and fourth floors of the doomed ferry. They were Kim Dong-soo (50), a truck driver from Jeju, and Kim Seong-mook (37), an office worker from Incheon, who pulled up Danwon students with a firefighting hose. Kim and others stayed at the handrail of the ferry for more than 40 minutes, and pulled hands of Danwon students who were escaping through dive.

The words “Let’s escape” shouted by Han and others made more than 70 passengers (including over 50 students from Danwon High School) be rescued through dive for about three minutes at the final moments of the sinking.