South Korea ferry tragedy: Videos show students' few last moments before death

May 02 2014, 20:44 IST
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Photo taken by deceased South Korean student Park Su-hyeon shows students inside the sinking ferry Sewol. AP Photo taken by deceased South Korean student Park Su-hyeon shows students inside the sinking ferry Sewol. AP
SummaryScared students frantically took videos as South Korea ferry sank.

Soon after the ferry began to tilt, high school students can be seen huddled below deck in a video, joking about the Titanic and taking selfies even as fear slowly built. Newly released video reveals a frightening scene half an hour later, as the ship listed so severely that students, one of them weeping, were forced to sit on a wall instead of the floor.

Its emergence comes after the release of shaky video ( ) - at times poignant and heartbreaking as the teens said last words to their loved ones - that was found on the cellphone belonging to 17-year-old Park Su-hyeon when his body was recovered after the ferry sank off the country's southern coast April 16.

The boy's father, Park Jong-dae, provided it Thursday to The Associated Press, saying he wanted to show the world the conditions aboard the Sewol as it sank.

The latest video was on the cellphone of a female student who died in the sinking. The girl's father gave it to South Korean television network JTBC.

More than 300 people are dead or missing in a disaster that has caused widespread grief, anger and shame. More than 225 bodies, mostly from inside the submerged vessel, have been recovered. More than 80 percent of the victims were students from a high school in Ansan, south of Seoul, on their way to the tourist island of Jeju for a school trip.

The group of teens in Park Su-hyeon's video alternated between bluster, attempts at humor and unmistakable fear. Video can be recovered from micro SD cards in cellphones even if the device is submerged.

Only one of the teens could be seen wearing a life jacket at the beginning of the clips, which started at 8:52 a.m. and ended, with a small break between them, at 9:09 a.m., when everyone appeared to be wearing them.

Some of the students struggled as they tried to buckle the life jackets. As the listing worsened they joked about "final commemorative pictures" and "defying gravity" by trying to walk on the walls.

"It's like we're becoming the Titanic," one student said.

At 8:53 a.m., two minutes before a crew member on the bridge made the ferry's first distress call, one student says: "Am I really going to die?"

Early on, a message blared from the ferry's loudspeakers: "Don't move away from your places and brace for any possible accidents."

In subsequent announcements, passengers were

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