– ‘A big thumping sound’ –
“I heard a big thumping sound and the boat suddenly started to tilt,” one rescued student told YTN by telephone.
“Some of my friends fell over hard and started bleeding. We jumped into the water and got picked up by the rescue boats,” he said.
Distraught parents of the students gathered at the high school in Ansan, desperate for news.
There were chaotic scenes in the school’s auditorium, with parents yelling at school officials and frantically trying to make phone calls to their children.
“I talked to my daughter. She said she had been rescued along with 10 other students,” one mother told the YTN news channel.
“They said they had jumped into the water before getting rescued,” she said.
Scores of ferries ply the waters between the South Korean mainland and its multiple offshore islands every day, and accidents are relatively rare.
However in one of the worst incidents, nearly 300 people died when a ferry capsized off the west coast in October 1993.