Students haunted by ferry disaster

South Korean teenagers who survived April’s Sewol ferry sinking have said they are still haunted by the disaster that killed dozens of their friends

They also demanded that crew members be punished for abandoning the passengers and fleeing the ship.

Students from Danwon High School, near Seoul, gave evidence for a second day at the trial of 15 crew members involved with the ferry’s navigation, who face charges of negligence and failing to rescue passengers.

The sinking left more than 300 people dead or missing, and most of the victims were Danwon students who were travelling to a resort island on a school trip.

One student said she has had nightmares since the sinking, and another said she feels despondent whenever she thinks about her friends who died.

A third student said: “When I got out of the cabin and moved to a corridor, there was a friend of mine on the other side of a bed (in the cabin) and our eyes met. (My friend) failed to escape.”

The students’ names were withheld to protect their privacy.

The sinking, one of the deadliest disasters in decades in South Korea, has triggered widespread grief and renewed scrutiny of public safety.

Survivors say they heard no evacuation orders, and prosecutors argued that a timely evacuation announcement could have saved more lives.

Prosecutors say the 15 crew members abandoned the ship even though they knew passengers were trapped inside and would die when the ferry sank. The defence has denied any collusion, saying the crew members were confused, injured and panicked.

Student survivors said they were repeatedly ordered by loudspeaker to stay inside the sinking ship.

The trial continues.