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Captain fleeing ship: Video shows captain in underwear fleeing Korean ship

A captain fleeing ship, wearing only a sweater and underwear, has renewed South Korea’s anger against Captain Lee Joon-seok. The short video clip of the captain fleeing his ship and leaving behind hundreds of innocent children to die on the fated ferry was released on Monday by Korea's coast guard, reported USA Today on April 28.

Captain fleeing ship: Video shows captain in underwear fleeing Korean ship
(Photo: South Korea coast guard, European Pressphoto Agency)

The video clip, which can be seen above, shows the captain of the ill-fated ferry Sewol run towards the edge of the ship where a coast guard rescue team was waiting. Without hesitating for one moment and without any look back, the skinny captain – barely dressed – cautiously steps from the ferry into the rescue boat. “The 69-year-old captain wasn’t wearing his uniform but a black long sleeve shirt and navy-colored underwear,” wrote The Korea Times.

Moments later, the Sewol completely submerged in the Yellow Sea with hundreds of teens on board. Most of those teens had been ordered by the captain and crew to await a rescue team that would never come. “Around 9:06 a.m., an announcement was made, ‘Attention, please, the students and teachers of Danwon High School. Do not move from where you are and wait’.”

Even though the video clip of the captain of the Sewol fleeing his ship is very short, it attests to the true tragedy that occurred on April 16. As Captain Lee Joon-seok reached the guardrail of the ferry, cautiously walks onto the rescue boat, and holds on to everything that he can so he wouldn’t fall into the cold water, there are 14 lifeboats next to him – he never bothered to release them.

Only 35 of the 111 rooms on the sunken ferry have been searched by divers so far and the death toll remains at 188. More than 100 out of the 476 passengers on board the Sewol are still missing. The only rescued 174 people are the ones that were plucked from the sea on April 16. As described on April 25, the bodies of 48 girls were found by divers in one dormitory room that was supposed to hold only 38. The divers who had found the bodies described the girls as being huddled together in cold darkness with everything floating around them.

Besides the captain fleeing the ship, several other crewmembers used the same rope to slide down the tilted hull of the ferry. On Sunday, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigned over criticism that the government’s response to the disaster was too slow. In addition to the above video clip, South Korea’s Coast Guard has uploaded dozens of other short video clips — together nearly 10 minutes long — which were taken between 9:28 a.m. to 11:18 a.m. by officers on the rescue boats.

“The video clips show how slow and minimal the rescue efforts were in the early stages after the accident when most of the victims could have been saved. When a rescue boat arrived there, one helicopter was hovering above the ferry. One high-speed rubber boat kept travelling between the listing ferry and a ship, carrying fewer than 10 people each trip.”

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