South Korean ferry: transcript of student's video from inside sinking ship

In video clips from the cellphone of a victim of the South Korean ferry sinking, high school students huddled below the deck talk of taking selfies, wonder if they'll make the news and discuss posting about the excitement later on Facebook. CBC News has translated and transcribed the video.

Video from victim's cellphone reveals chaos and fear, confusion about severity of situation

Video shows last minutes of passengers inside sinking ferry. (COURTESY: NEWSTAPA) 1:10

The teenage students from Danwon High School laughed nervously on-board the South Korean ferry as it began to tilt over on one side, initially not realizing the ship was in serious trouble. 

In video clips from the cellphone of a victim of a disaster that has shaken South Korea, the teenagers talk of snapping selfies, wonder if they'll make the news and discuss posting about the excitement later on Facebook. Announcements from the crew tell people not to move, but as the video continues, passengers gradually realize the danger they're in and start searching for life vests.

The shaky video was on the cellphone of a 17-year-old student, Park Su-hyeon, when rescuers recovered his body. The boy's father, Park Jong-dae, provided it Thursday to select media outlets, saying he wanted to show the world the ship's condition and what was happening aboard as it rolled over and sank.

The group of teens in the video alternate between bluster, attempts at humour and unmistakable fear.

CBC News has translated the roughly 17-minute video posted on News Tapa's YouTube page. This is the transcript:

Passenger: "Oh, it's tilted. Hey, will you help me out?"

[One of the passengers makes a request by cellphone for rescue.]

Coast guard: "What is the name of the ship? Name of the ship?"

Student: "Sewol. Sewol."

Coast guard: "Sewol, is this a merchant ship? What is this?"

Student: "What?"

Coast guard: "What is the type of the ship? Is it a ferry? Is it a fishing ship?"

Student: "This is a ferry."

At this point in the video, the students talk among themselves. Their conversations are interrupted by on-board announcements. 

ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: Please don't move from your current location, and be prepared for safety instructions [regarding the] accident.

"Will the water leak in really? The shaking is getting serious."


"It's tilting this way. Can't move."

ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: …. dangerous. Please be prepared for safety instructions [regarding the] accident.

"[Expletive] This is ridiculous."

"Oh I want to get off. I really do."

"Hey, would you like to shoot me [with your cellphone camera]?"

Am I really going to die? 

"Hey, what's the situation?"

"[Expletive] Hey, why did you get out?"

"Hey, hey, look at this. It's not going down any further is it?"

"Is it shifting even more? The shifting is getting serious. If I relax myself, I just move right this way [shows how the ship is leaning]."

"Lend me some support."

"Wait a second. Wait a second."

"Quiet. Quiet."

ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: …do not move from your current position, please.

"Open the door."

A photo from the mobile phone of deceased South Korean high school student Park Su-hyeon and released by his father Park Jong-dae, showing the inside of the Sewol ferry. (Park Su-hyeon, courtesy of the Park Family/The Associated Press)
"It can only be opened from the inside."

"It was really [expletive] difficult for me a second ago."

"This cannot be opened from the outside at all."

(Yelling) "What is this? Hurry, rescue us!"

"Yay, this is fun."

"Am I really going to die?"

"If we were outside the window, we'd already be dead, [expletive]."

"What are the chances of this happening, [expletive]?"

"Of course, even when I was living in [location deleted], nothing was even close to this."

"Hey, my arms are shaking."

"It's tilting even more."

"Hey, pass my shoes up."

"It's tilting even more? Are you kidding?"

"Hey, all the shoes are sliding away here."

"[Expletive] What are you doing?"

Looking for life vests

"This isn't an emergency situation. This is reality."

"Someone bring the life vests out."

"Come on, bring what out? Why?"

"Because we don't know how this is going to turn out. This is really happening."

ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: Once again, dear passengers, this is the guidance announcement. [Difficult to hear, possibly 'Don't move'] ... from where you are.

"We don't know what's going to happen, so bring them [the life vests] out."

"[Expletive] No, no, we can't go."

"[Expletive]-camera, camera. This is not recording well with this camera."

(Student yelling) "Let me live!"

"You never know, so keep this [life vest]."

"No, no, I'm fine, I'm fine."

[Another rescue call is made from Sewol to Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Centre]

Sewol: Our ship is in danger. The ship is rolled over now.

Jeju VTS: Yes, where is your ship?

"We don't want to die."

"Is the water even leaking in?"

"I couldn't even imagine it could roll over like this."

"We took our life vests."

"The ship is slowly tilting over."

Should I call my mom? Mom, I'm at my end. 

"This is no joke."

"School class trip. [Lengthy expletives] school class trip."

"Here's a life vest."

"The ship is still settling. It's slowly going to the left."

"It feels like it's better than just moments ago. But why did the ship roll over suddenly?"

"Something smells strange."

"[Expletive.] Is the gas leaking?"

ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: Once again, dear passengers, a guidance announcement. Those of you who are inside the ship, please do not move. [Difficult to make out, possibly "Try to find"] …a pole you can hold onto.

[Note: The view on the screen shows the interior of the ship tilted to one side.]

"Isn't this going to be in the news?"

"Hey, [friend's name], let's stay together."

"Something smells like boiled egg. Something smells like boiled egg."

"Settling. The [ship's] settling is finished."

"Hey, can you catch me if I fall?"

"Don't you fall."

"I really want to get down. It's scary here."

"I'd recommend that you don't get down."

"You hold on to this. You hold on to this, too."

"No, I'll hold onto this."

"Leave them on the floor."

"Why are you pulling out the life vests?"

"We don’t want to die, don't want to die."

[Another phone call between a passenger and the police service is heard.]

Police: The ship is about to sink, you say?

Passenger: Yes. Yes. Sewol. Sewol. The one that's coming in from Incheon to Jeju. Hurry.

[indiscernible noise]

Passenger: We are not supposed to move.

Police: Hello?

Passenger: Yes. Yes. The ship is sinking.

"Even if you die, I don't want to die."

"[Expletive], is it over?"

"No, no."

"It’s rolling over. That's what's happening now."

"This one would be fun to post on Facebook."

"Dad, I don't want to die."

"Oh, this is going to be fun once the water leaks in."

"Really, once the water leaks in, we've really got to get out."

"Should I call my mom? Mom, I'm at my end."

ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: Please do not move from where you are.

"It says do not move."

'The Man Who Defied Gravity'

[Two minutes and 25 seconds later.]

"So, hey, they're all saying everything is going to be fine?"

"Sure. That's why I'm saying I got to get out of here now."

    "Me, too. Me, too."


    The students look for life vests once they realize what's happening with the ferry is an emergency situation, but they are unable to find enough for everyone. (Park Su-hyeon, courtesy of the Park Family/The Associated Press)

    "Getting ready to jump in."

    "I'm going to wear the life vest."

    "I gotta wear one, too." 

    "Really gotta wear one."

    "I must wear one, too."

    "Hey, you should wear one, too."

    "Are you going to wear it?"

    "[Expletive.] Things like this should be photographed."

    "Shoot this as the last souvenir. Shoot it like this. Call it The Man who Defied Gravity." [Student poses in severely tilted cabin.]

    "Shoot it [facing] down."

    "Hurry, hurry, hurry."

    "Mom, I love you. Mom, I love you. I love you."

    "Some school class trip."

    "Mom, the ship is now…"

    "Don't fall on me when the ship suddenly shakes."

    "Are we really all going to fall?"

    "Wear clothes now." [Reference to cold ocean water.]

    "Now, we must try to live."

    "Give me one of those [life vests]. Where is it? Pull down the life vest there."

    "Here it is."

    "Hey, hey, hey. Watch out here. The wind, kids, all….."

    "Throw all the life vests down here."

    (Yells) "Life vest!"

    "[Expletive, expletive, expletive.]"

    "Throw them."

    "Got to survive."

    "What is this?"

    "Really, really scared."

    "Time for a selfie."

    "Me, too. Me, too. Take one of me screaming." [Makes a facial expression of screaming.]

    "What is really going on?"

    No more life vests

    "Is it really sinking? What, they have life vests, too."

    "Hey, you, wear the life vest."

    "Ah, I'm hurt."

    "Guys, put on the life vests."

    "No more of them now? The life vests?"


    "[Name hidden] hey, what about you?"

    "The [life vest] zippers aren't locking."

    "My zippers are broken, too."

    "We don't have one life vest here."

    "Wear that kid-sized one. The kid-sized one."

    "It seems like I'll have to."

    "We don't have [name hidden]'s life vest. Must go and find it."

    "[Name hidden]'s? Yours?"


    "Go find them."

    "Wear mine."

    "What about you?"

    "Me? I'm going to go get it."

    Please don't go on a school field trip. At least, you mustn't if you don’t want to end up like your older brother. Please let me live, let me live, let me live. 

    "Go get it."

    "I have lots of cartoons I haven't seen. I have lots of cartoons I haven't seen. The season isn't over yet."

    "I hate sinking. I haven't even found my cash yet."

    "Give me five more." [Possible reference to life vests.]

    "No more? Not even one? Look at that end. That end. Find another life vest."

    "This is fun."

    "Throw them all. Why are there no more [life vests]? There must be."

    "Put your feet here."

    "Are they wearing [life vests] outside [the cabin]?"

    "The kids outside are not wearing them. They aren't wearing them."

    "But the situation outside now, we can't tell the situation of the kids at the balcony."

    "Bring it out. Bring it out."

    "No, like, something got stuck."

    "What do we do?"

    "What is the captain doing?"

    "It's like it became the Titanic. [Hums the soundtrack tune to The Titanic]"

    "The phone is not working?"

    "No, not working."

    Final words

    "Ahh, we're doomed. Like, I could die without having a chance to say my last words."

    "Well, leave them now. [Expletive]"

    "Record them."

    "Recording. This is a video."

    "Please, if I don't survive, Mom and Dad, I love you."

    "Well, you next."

    "He's reading the text messages. Poor thing."

    "Hey [name hidden]."

    "Don't shoot [video]."

    "Mom, Dad, Dad, Dad, my younger brother, what should I do? I must say that my younger brother must not go on a school trip ever."

    "Hey, you've got to give one to that guy, him." [Possible reference to life vests.]

    "I can't give them to those guys."

    "Search in there. Search there."

    "All done? Are you guys all done? Why aren't you wearing it [a life vest]? Well, you don't worry about gathering your belongings in a situation like this."

    Ahh, we will have to jump into the sea. 

    Teacher/adult: "Are you all wearing life vests? Confirm if you're all wearing one."

    "Yes, ma'am, we're all wearing them."

    "How do you lock this [vest]?"

    "This doesn't fit."

    "Ahh, I feel like I have motion sickness."

    "Hurry, wear it."

    "Look, come to think of it, I haven't done many bad things. [Expletive]"

    "Hey, this is going to be in the news, I guarantee it. This is going to be in the news."

    "No, it won't for something like this, unless it sinks."

    "Sinks? It's sinking now."

    "It will not sink. It must not."

    "Ah, my cellphone. There's no network reception."

    "Mom, I love you. Dad, I love you. I love you both. This is the son of Mr. [name hidden] speaking, because it seems like I might die here."

    "Mom, Dad, I love you. [Younger sister's name hidden, repeated], please don't go on a school field trip, at least you must not if you don’t want to end up like your older brother. Please let me live, let me live, let me live. This is the end. Can you see me tilted?

    "Thanks. Really, though, what's happening to the kids who were on the deck?"

    [A call between Sewol and Jindo Coastal VTS]

    Coastal VTS: Sewol, Sewol, Jindo Coastal VTS. Sewol, Sewol, Jindo Coastal VTS. Sewol, is your ship sinking?

    Sewol: Yes, it is. Tell the the coast guard to hurry, please.

    "So, there's a high possibility they have fallen off [the balcony outside]. And earlier, from the deck, the deck doesn't have windows. So I'm saying it's more dangerous."

    "What you are looking at right now…?"

    ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: Students of Danwon High School and other passengers, this is a safety announcement. Do not move from the second floor, but please stand by.

    "Right now, the ship is rolled over. I feel like vomiting. Now my legs are shaky. I'm feeling nauseous too. I'm in front of a guy calmly holding his cellphone."

    ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: This is an information announcement once again. The passengers who are able to put on the  jackets, please put on the life jackets.

    "I don't understand what's happening. Them telling us to wear the life vests, doesn't that mean the ship is sinking?"

    "Ahh, we will have to jump into the sea."

    "Ahh, this is a real emergency. [Expletive] - don't hold it."

    "I'm not holding it, I'm not holding it. It's just touching."

    "No, don't hold onto that. You might fall off trying to hold onto that."

    "Hey, we're playing with smartphones in the midst of this situation."

    "Audacious Koreans, we are."

    "Hey [hidden name], look at our real, last audacity."

    "Me, too. We're going to swim out to sea like this ...."

    "Why are you holding it up?"

    "I feel like vomiting now."

    ON-BOARD ANNOUNCEMENT: Those of you who can reach the life jackets, please pass them around, pass them around. Make it possible for people to put them on, don't move from your current location, please stand by. Once again, this is the guidance announcement. Do not move from your current position.

    "I wonder how [hidden name] is doing? [Hidden name] and who else? [Hidden name], [hidden name] and who else, too, is missing?"

    "I thought we were on schedule. What is this? They said we were leaving at 12."

    "It's hot, it's scary."

    "You scared? Oh, the baby's crying. It's OK, it's OK."

    "What, there's a baby? There's a baby. This is driving me crazy. This is a real emergency."

    "Give us more life vests."

    "I have to get this kind of telephone – those are hard to find."

    "No more?" [Reference to life vests.]

    "No more, no more."

    "Any more behind you, in the rear?"

    "No more."

    "Why is no one being sent to the women's room there?"

    "I feel dizzy, I feel dizzy."

    "Huh? Dizzy?"

    "Where's the teacher?"

    "I want to know, too."

    "Is the teacher alright?"

    "I received a text message from the teacher."

    "What does it say?"

    "'Are the kids OK?'"

    "Ask the teacher what's happening."

    "The teacher is not checking messages, for now."


    This is the end of the recording. You can play the full video in Korean in the window below.

    With files from the Associated Press