Ferry survivors return to school after classmates' deaths

ANSAN, South Korea – They left school two weeks ago on a field trip with hundreds of classmates. They came back without the scores of students who died at sea.

About 70 survivors from the sunken South Korean ferry visited a memorial at the Danwon High School in Asnan – the high school that sent 325 students on a field trip to Jeju Island. Inside the hallways, it didn't take long for the tears to flow.

Many students sobbed as they walked past images of their classmates and hurried back onto waiting buses. For these students, school will never be the same. The ferry, en route from Incheon to Jeju, sank April 16 on the country's southwest coast.

Any hope for survivors largely hinged on the possibility of air pockets within the sunken ship which was carrying 425 people. Hundreds of relatives camped out near a harbour in Jindo, waiting for news. But after officials said there were no more air pockets, the grim reality set in.

"All we are asking for is bring the bodies out,” a father wailed. “We know they are not alive now.” Another 83 people are missing, the South Korean coast guard reported Thursday.


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Aaj Kal