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South Korea ferry disaster: Child on board raises first alarm in call to fire station

Published on Apr 22, 2014 11:36 AM
 
South Korean schoolgirl Cho A Reum shows a photo of her brother Cho Sung Won, one of the missing passengers onboard the South Korean ferry Sewol. The first alarm from the sinking ferry was raised in a phone call from a child on board to a fire station at 8.52am on the morning the boat capsized. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MOKPO/SEOUL (REUTERS) - The first alarm from a sinking South Korean ferry was raised in a phone call from a child on board to a fire station at 8.52am on the morning the boat capsized, three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn.

That call was forwarded to the coastguard two minutes later and was followed by about 20 others to the fire brigade, a fire station officer told Reuters.

The first call as the ferry began sinking on Wednesday was from a boy whose voice was shaking and sounded urgent, a fire officer told MBC TV. It took a while to identify the ship as the Sewol because he was flustered.

The fire station official asked him to switch the phone to the captain, and the boy replied: "Do you mean teacher?" The pronunciation of the words for "captain" and "teacher" is similar in Korean.

 
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