Seoul Shocker is Danielle Davidson’s firsthand experience with living abroad in Seoul, South Korea.
Last week a ferry capsized off the coast of South Korea. Many of the passengers were high school students on a class trip from Seoul to Jeju Island off the southern coast. Ferries going to and from Jeju are a main means of
transportation to the island and the upturned ship wasn’t known to have problems in the past.
But, the bad weather conditions and the possibility the ship hit something after traveling out of the channel are said to be contributors. Reports of the captain not being at the helm when it all happened are being called into question as well.
When the ship tilted, everyone was told over the speakers to stay put and not move in an effort to keep everyone out of danger, but it did little to help because the ship was sinking too fast. Speculation circulated in the news here, as well as abroad, about why the passengers were told not to move. The fact many lives were claimed by the ocean doesn’t change. Some survivors said they stayed put at first, but moved after they realized what was happening. The ship sunk completely under the waves a couple hours after the first distress signal and though there’s hope some of the passengers survived in air pockets, after just two hours in the cold ocean water, danger of hypothermia sets in.
As a result of this crisis the entire country is in mourning for the loss of so many lives and the increasing likelihood of no more survivors being found. Cultural festivals and music concerts are cancelled, and the nation continually watches in disbelief, waiting for a sliver of hope that even a few more lives were saved.
Grieving family members are angry with the captain, who had nothing to say besides ‘I’m sorry,’ and demand answers as to why their children are dead.
Students say they wish they could do something, but the only thing left to do is watch as the ship is recovered and the investigation continues.
A reliable ship and a vacation to a resort island don’t often end in disaster, but let it serve as a reminder to the rest of us. Don’t forget to tell loved ones ‘I love you’ and don’t forget this life is sometimes too short.