Amateur camera footage showing inside of capsized South Korean ferry revealed
AP PhotoCamera footage has been revealed from inside the South Korean ferry that capsized on April 16, showing passengers wearing life jackets and awaiting rescue.
National shock at the ferry disaster that may have killed hundreds of schoolchildren was mixed with fury over growing evidence that many passengers were denied a proper chance to escape.
Those who obeyed found their possible escape route severely compromised after the vessel suddenly listed sharply to the port side, triggering total panic.
One survivor named Kim Sung-Mook said he had struggled to rescue around 30 high school students unable to escape from a large open hall on the fourth level of the ship.
"I couldn't even get into the hall because the whole thing was leaning over so badly," Kim said.
"The ship was going underwater and there was nothing for them to hold on to with their hands. They couldn't crawl up the floor because it was wet and at such a sharp angle," he said.
Using a fire hose he managed to pull a few to safety, "but there were so many of them... I couldn't help them all."
One student who was rescued said most passengers had remained in their seat for "30 to 40 minutes" after the ferry first foundered, in line with instructions from crew members and over the internal tannoy system.
"The message was repeated again and again: 'Stay put. Don't move'," said another survivor, Huh Young-Ki.
"We were asking ourselves: 'Shouldn't we move? Shouldn't we try and get out?' But the announcement was saying help would be there in 10 minutes," Huh told the News Y television channel.
Discipline is strict in the South Korean education system and authority rarely flouted, leaving observers to conclude that most of the 375 high school students on the ferry, in their late teens, would probably have obeyed any official commands without question.
"If only we had been told to get out earlier, then more of us would have been able to jump into the sea," one student who managed to escape told the MBC TV channel.
"But most people just stayed put as they were told," she added.
Once the 6,825-tonne vessel Sewol had begun to list, it soon ended up at a 90 degree angle to the water, before inverting completely and sinking with only a small section of the keel showing above water.