Reports of what happened aboard the Sewol have been released. Some students stated they had been ushered onto upper decks by their teachers, from whence they were rescued. However, many more remained in their cabin when they received an announcement requesting to remain where they were, rather than abandoning ship.
Survivors stated that the Sewol listed so suddenly and so steep that many were unable to climb upward to safety. Many suffered injuries particularly when luggage and other people fell on top of them. Those below stated the lights went out and they could see water pouring in. Those who followed the order to remain in place, rather than heed attempting to save themselves found themselves trapped below. Some students trapped below were able to send text messages to their parents. One child texted her mother saying she could not get up the steeply angled decks and many knew of their dire situation.
Rescuers arrived on scene soon after the distress call was sent out. There was clear weather, with good visibility and within sight of land. Multiple vessels including fishing boats, commercial and coast guard were on scene. Helicopters arrived and airlifted those who had climbed onto the listing decks. However, they could only rescue those who had left their cabins. Just after two hours of listing, the Sewol capsized and eventually only a section of her upturned bow remained above water.
The 6825 ton passenger ship Sewol which sank in 90 meters of water off Jindo Island, South Korea. The vessel sent out a distress call after striking an underwater rock near Gwanmae Island. The vessel remained afloat for 8 hours before it finally rolled over and sank. Initial reports state the vessel took 18 minutes after the initial grounding before it sent out a distress call. The crew during this time urged passengers to stay calm, but not to prepare to evacuate the vessel.
Authorities have revised that over 290 passengers/crew are still missing which 244 were high school students. The students were on a four-day school trip to Jeju Island. Reports state some students sent text messages soon after the accident. Divers are exploring the sunken vessel fearing that many on board were trapped below deck.
The 146 meter long passenger vessel Sewol sank off Jindo Island, South Korea. The Sewol was en route to the island with 476 passengers and crew when the vessel became disabled. Passengers reported that they heard a loud thumping sound and the vessel’s engine stopped. The passenger ship than began to develop a list and before it rolled onto its side. The vessel sent out a distress call with over 30 vessels responding. Many passengers were rescued, but several were forced to jump overboard into the sea. One person perished. The cause of the incident was not yet known. Reports state some 338 passengers were high school students and teachers travelling to the island on holiday.