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People visit south coastal areas to commemorate 5th anniversary of Sewol-ho ferry disaster Updated: 2019-04-16 16:04:18 KST

Paengmok port in Jeollanam-do Province is the closest port to where the ill-fated Sewol-ho ferry had drowned, taking away with it more than 300 lives, most of whom, high school students.
Hundred of Koreans visited the port today to remember the victims, and let’s now connect with Arirang’s Won Jung-hwan who is in Paengmok port for us tonight.
Jung-hwan give us details.

Hi Da-eun, I am now at the Paengmok Port, where the bodies of the victims were first brought to be handed to their families.
More than 300 people died when the Sewol-ho ferry sank in the waters off Jindo five years ago.
To remember those who died,… Paengmok Port, which is the closest port to the site of the disaster, still sees a stream of mourners who travel a long way to pay respects to the victims.
There's been a lot of tears and heartbreak as the visitors recall the tragedy,… and I got a chance to hear from some of the people who are here for the victims who died five years ago.

"We are now in our second year of high school. And most of the victims from the incident that happened 5 years ago were the same age as us. I feel really sorry for their loss as they would have had hopes and dreams like us."

"Every time I come here, I say to myself that this kind of thing should never happen again. As an adult, looking at those kids who passed away so young, I feel responsibility."

Thanks Jung-hwan. You're there with the families and friends of the victims. In what ways are they expressing their loss today?

The pain for the families and friends of those victims will continue for much longer than we can possibly imagine.
Near the port there is a container facility which is set up to be used for the Paengmok memorial center, a make-shift venue to commemorate the victims.
At the center, group photos of the young victims with big smiles on their faces are hung, instead of the usual portraits used for mourning.
The families and friends of the victims often drop by at this place to check out their loved ones, and leave their belongings inside the container as well.
And I had a chance to hear the father of Cho Chan-min, one of the students who died in the disaster.

"Nothing is revealed yet. Well the only thing that what we want to know is, why our children had to die from that incident. That's it. But nothing has been revealed yet."

Indeed, many still feel core questions surrounding the disaster remain unanswered: What caused the sinking and why didn't the government initiate the rescue mission immediately?
But some say the collective mourning and reflection on the disaster has changed Korean society.
The recent successful tackling of the wildfire in Goseong and Sokcho is representative of such changes.
Indeed, some could say the Sewol-ho ferry sinking has left a legacy,… that citizens' lives and safety should come above anything else.
That is all from me from at Paengmok Port, back to you.
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