South Korea’s navy released an underwater video showing divers searching for bodies of passengers trapped inside the ferry that capsized and sank last week.
Reuters got access to the footage shot on April 21 showing divers attempting to smash a window open to get inside of sunken ferry Sewol. The searchers, connected to oxygen and communication cables, have only a few centimeters of visibility ahead of them due to the conditions underwater.
Divers have had the tragic task of pulling mostly children’s bodies from the wreckage of the vessel. Of the 476 passengers onboard, 339 were young students and teachers who were on their way the resort island of Jeju for a field trip when the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday.
The corpses that have been discovered revealed the passengers’ desperate attempts to escape the ferry as it sank, according to Reuters:
And most of the bodies found in the last two days had broken fingers, presumably from the children frantically trying to climb the walls or floors to escape in their last moments, media said.
“We are trained for hostile environments, but it’s hard to be brave when we meet bodies in dark water,” diver Hwang Dae-sik told Reuters, as the funerals of 25 students were held near the capital, Seoul.
Only 174 people have been rescued and the confirmed death toll on Wednesday was at 150.
The diving team has managed to find 14 bodies in the wreckages so far, according to Hwang. “We have to touch everything with our hands. This is the most grueling and heartbreaking job of my career,” he said.
The bodies of two Chinese citizens onboard the ship have been identified by the Chinese embassy and there are still two more Chinese passengers onboard this ship missing.