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South Korea ferry disaster: Boy who raised first alarm had no time to call parents

Published on Apr 26, 2014 1:08 PM
People hold candles at a vigil for students among the missing passengers of a South Korean capsized ferry, in central Ansan on April 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - The frightened boy who first raised the alarm that a South Korean ferry with hundreds on board was sinking did not have time to call his parents, his father said, and was found dead not wearing a life jacket.

The boy, known only as Choi, called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.

Choi's body was found on Wednesday, a week after the sinking, at the back of the fourth deck.

"I was so angry at the reality that all I can do is look at the sea and pray, but I am so grateful that he has been found and he is back," his father told the Kukmin Ilbo newspaper. "If only he had been wearing a life jacket, I wouldn't be this heartbroken... He didn't have time to call his mum and dad... He reported it to 119 (emergency number) and he's back now. I am so proud of him."

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