Chonghaejin Marine Company’s Ferry SEWOL Sinks – 459 Passengers Aboard 302 Dead South Korea (see video below) – On April 16, 2014 Chonghaejin Marine Company’s five-story-tall ferry SEWOL was sailing from Incheon on the northwest coast of South Korea to the island of Jeju off the southwestern tip of South Korea when reports say the ship grounded or hit something, shuttered, stopped suddenly then begin to severely list before it sank in of 13.2 degrees Celsius (56 degrees Fahrenheit) water.
SEWOl ferry captain Lee Joon-seok was seen fleeing the passenger ferry as it sank in coastal waters off Jindo Island.
SEWOL, which means “time and tide” in Korean, has a 921 passenger and 130 vehicle capacity. Though, reports say at the time of the incident 459 people were aboard including 325 Danwon High School students along with 15 of their teachers. Danwon High School is located in Ansan, a Seoul, South Korea suburb.
In addition, reports say there were 30 crew members, 89 other passengers and 150 vehicles aboard the ship before it sank.
Rescued passengers reported that many of the friends were in their cabins when the accident took place, accounting for the death toll of 302 people.
A video surfaced which had recorded captain Lee Joon Suk saying, “Don’t move. If you move, it’s dangerous. Don’t move.” As the water level in the listing ship rose, many ignored the captain’s warning, jumping overboard in the icy cold water to ultimately tell their story of survival.
Of the 46 lifeboats SEWOL had, only one was launched after the disaster.
The U.S. Navy ship USS Bonhomme Richard which was sailing in the region at the time of the accident is participating in the search and rescue operation.
It was the second recent accident involving a Chonghaejin Marine Company ferry. Ferry Democracy No. 5 collided with a fishing boat near Incheon, South Korea in March 2014.
Updated Details: Sinking of the MV Sewol (South Korea) occured on 15 April 2014 Korea, 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) off Donggeochado, Jindo County, South Jeolla Province – Coordinates 34°13′5″N 125°57′0″E
1 navy sailor
2 civilian divers
5 emergency workers
Inquest Suspect(s) 12 Crew
On board 476
Survivors 172 (171 excluding the subsequent suicide of the vice principal of Danwon High School)
Video: What caused South Korea ferry disaster? BBC News