News of the ferry disaster prompted anxious families of children who had been on board to gather at the Danwon High School in a Seoul suburb.
As they waited for news, a fleet of buses carrying many relatives left for the port of Jindo 350 kilometres south of the capital, where the rescued are being brought ashore.
“I felt like my heart stopped (when I heard). I can’t describe the feeling with words. I was way too shocked. I can’t even talk about it,” said Jung Kyeong-Mi, 43, the mother of 18-year-old student Kim Soo-Bin.
Park Sung-Ho, 50, is the father of another 18-year-old student, Park Eun-Ho: “I can’t even describe how I feel now. I was really nervous. Even specially trained soldiers will have a hard time if they get stranded at sea. What a shock it must be to those kids… I’m sure it must felt like the sky was falling in. It’s even worse for the parents,” he said.
Some were distressed, some angry at the lack of news.
Earlier an official from the school had said all 338 students and teachers had been rescued. Now, cruelly, this looks like it was a massively over-optimistic assessment.