The tragic sinking of a South Korean ferry that may have killed more than 200, most high school students, has become a national scandal that has already claimed the career of South Korea’s prime minister. Now, new video has surfaced, allegedly showing the ferry’s captain swimming away to safety while passengers drowned.
According to CNN, the video shows several rescues made by lifeboat crews who desperately sought to find anyone they could remove from the sinking vessel. Among those rescued was Captain Lee Joon-Seok, who was dragged off the ship in only his underwear. Rescue teams said, CNN further reported, that they did not know that Lee was the captain when they saved him. They were simply struggling to remove as many live bodies from the ship as possible.
Other videos have surfaced, including one that a teenager on the ship used his cell phone to record, that show confused passengers receiving little guidance from the crew. The cell phone, without significant water damage, was found on the teenager’s dead body, and the father handed the footage over to the police. In that video, one boy is seen asking, “You think I’m really going to die?”
The ship’s crew told passengers to remain in their cabins, rather than come to the surface of the ship, which may have cost many their lives, as the ship continued to tilt into a horizontal position, drowning many. The new videos have incensed families of those on board even more. They allege criminal negligence on the part of the crew.
In addition to the former prime minister resigning, President Park Geun-Hye has personally apologized for the ferry disaster, as criticisms continue to surface that the government did not respond quickly enough to the tragedy to save many on board. The government has detained all surviving members of the crew, however, who are expected to face trial.
South Koreans remained outraged that such an event could occur–and that so many crew members could survive while dozens of passengers, told not to attempt an escape, died. The AFP reports that the tragedy has even hit the South Korean economy; as the nation mourns the dead, the will to shop has apparently diminished, hurting businesses. One South Korean professor told the AFP that the tragedy could have a “measurable impact” on the nation’s economy should consumers feel it inappropriate for a long period of time to shop casually.