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Transcript of SKorea ship sinking: 'We can't move'

Sunday - 4/20/2014, 10:02am  ET

South Korean Coast Guard police officers on a boat check the bodies of passengers believed to have been trapped in the sunken ferry Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, April 20, 2014. After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers on Sunday finally found a way into the submerged ferry off South Korea's southern shore, discovering more than a dozen bodies inside the ship and pushing the confirmed death toll to over four dozen, officials said. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The Associated Press

JINDO, South Korea (AP) -- The following is a portion of the transcript released Sunday by the South Korean coast guard of the conversation between the ferry that sank Wednesday and the Jindo Vessel Traffic Services Center (VTS) on Jindo island. The ferry Sewol issued its distress call to another VTS center before these communications began. The Associated Press translated the transcript from Korean. The names of other ships included in the transcript are omitted at the request of South Korean authorities.

9:07 a.m.

SEWOL: Jindo VTS, this is Sewol ferry.

JINDO VTS: Sewol ferry, Sewol ferry, this is VTS. Is your ship sinking now?

SEWOL: Yes, that's right. Please send the coast guard here right away.

JINDO VTS: (Ship A), this is Jindo VTS.

SHIP A: Yes, go ahead.

JINDO VTS: 2.1 miles to your right, the Sewol ferry is sinking. We ask for your help in its rescue. Please go there and rescue it.

SHIP A: Yes, we're on our way.

9:08 a.m. - 9:09 a.m.

(Jindo VTS makes calls to other ships to help out, and a second one responds.)

9:10 a.m.

SEWOL: Jindo VTS, this is Sewol.

JINDO VTS: Yes, this is VTS.

SEWOL: We are too tilted. We're almost going to fall over.

JINDO VTS: How are the people on board? (Ship A) is approaching your ship as fast as it can.

SEWOL: We are too tilted, we almost can't move.

9:11 a.m.

JINDO VTS: (Ship B), this is Jindo Coastal VTS. On your portside M/V Sewol is man overboard.

SHIP B: OK. OK. I will alter course port side.

9:12 a.m.

JINDO VTS: Sewol, this is Jindo VTS. Are the people on board on the life rafts or life boats?

SEWOL: No, we're not yet. The ship is too tilted, we can't move.

9:13 a.m.

JINDO VTS: How many people are on board?

SEWOL: Yes, 450 people. ... It's about 500 people.

JINDO VTS: Yes, right now, a ship nearby, (Ship A), is on its way.

SEWOL: Yes. Please come quickly.

9:14 a.m.

JINDO VTS: We are even contacting all nearby fishing boats.

SHIP A: The boat next to ours is evacuating. It's completely tilted to the left, it's dangerous to approach, but we'll try to approach while keeping a safe distance as much as we can.

JINDO VTS: Please approach as fast as you can. Please cooperate actively to rescue people.

SHIP A: Yes. If the passengers evacuate, we'll rescue.

JINDO VTS: Sewol ferry, are passengers able to evacuate?

SEWOL: The ship is too tilted, so it's impossible to evacuate.

JINDO VTS: We are contacting as many patrol boats and fishing boats and they are on their way.

(Jindo VTS communicates with another ship that offers to help.)

9:17 a.m.

JINDO VTS: Sewol ferry, this is Jindo VTS. Can you hear? (Repeats four times.) What's the status of the sinking?

SEWOL: It's tilted more than 50 degrees to the left and it's impossible for people to move either left or right. Crew members are asked to wear life jackets and stand by. ... But actually it's impossible to check if they're wearing them or not. The crew members are gathered on the bridge and cannot move. Please come quickly.

9:18 a.m.

JINDO VTS: OK, Sewol. How high has the water risen inside the ferry?

SEWOL: That cannot be checked either. I can confirm from the front side of the ship that some of the container boxes on the deck have fallen, but I can't move. I can't move even one step, left or right, on the bridge, so I'm holding the wall, barely standing.

JINDO VTS: (Ship A) is nearby and is approaching.


SHIP A: If passengers don't evacuate, I can't move alongside. Anyway, we'll be careful and move alongside to provide support.

9:19 a.m.

JINDO VTS: (Unclear to whom this is addressed.) Currently, it is completely impossible for the Sewol ferry to evacuate. When you get there and when passengers evacuate, please rescue them as safely as you can.

(Jindo VTS calls other ships.)

9:21 a.m.

SEWOL: Is the coast guard on its way? How long will it take to get here? Harbor affairs Jeju (another shore authority), can you hear the Sewol?

JINDO VTS: Sewol, right now, (Ship A) is approaching. It's impossible for it to come alongside. It is standing by.

9:22 a.m.

SEWOL: OK. How long will it take for the coast guard to get here?

JINDO VTS: Yes, hold on.

9:23 a.m.

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