S Korean ferry sinking: 'She is out there in the cold sea'

S Korean ferry sinking: 'She is out there in the cold sea'

The pin-drop silence as a student's name was read out was broken by a piercing scream of anguished recognition. Her shattered parents clutched each other in the cold harbour-side gymnasium.

The announcement of the sixth confirmed victim from the sinking of a South Korean ferry carrying hundreds of high school students, followed a night-long vigil by relatives who had travelled to the southern island of Jindo to be near rescue efforts.

The gymnasium, where hundreds spent the night on the floor, looked more like a refugee camp or triage station, with some overwrought relatives on saline drips after collapsing from exhaustion.

Others huddled together in blankets, seeking comfort and exchanging what little information they had about the nearly 300 people still missing 24 hours after the ferry went down in sight of land, AFP reported.

One father wept silently, covering his face with his hands as his wife tried to console him.

Some like Ms Park Yu Shin, whose daughter is among the missing, had been able to stay in contact with their loved ones until the last moment.

Hope

Recalled Ms Park, her voice breaking: "She was telling me, 'We're putting on our life vests. They're telling us to wait and stay put, so we're waiting, mum. I can see a helicopter'."

Unable to sleep, some spent the night at the Jindo harbour quay, staring out to sea as if willing their children back to safety.

Said one anguished mother: "My daughter is out there, somewhere out there in the cold sea."

Another said: "My tears have dried up. I am holding on to hope. I hope the government does everything to bring these kids back to their mothers."

Even as some parents seemed to be losing hope of seeing their children alive again, there were others who were assured of their children's safety.

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