THREE years after parents watched in horror as the Sewol ferry, which was carrying hundreds of school children, sank off the coast of South Korea, it was raised and brought to land on Sunday.
One of the worst maritime disasters in South Korea’s history, the sinking of the Sewol resulted in the death of 304 people – mostly teens on a school trip.
The incident traumatised the nation and galvanised mass protests demanding the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye who appeared to be absent during the unfolding disaster, not addressing the nation until seven hours after the ferry began taking on water.
An investigation into the tragedy found evidence of negligence by the coast guard and in the actions of the crew and captain on the day.
Following the sinking, footage emerged of Captain Lee Joon-seok, dressed only in his underwear, jumping from the ship into the arms of the Korean Coast Guard while hundreds remained trapped in the vessel.
Lee was found guilty of murder on appeal in April 2015 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Survivors told how passengers were instructed by ferry officers to stay put as the vessel sank, a move that ultimately cost them their lives.