Nervous laughter, clowning and bravado gives way to panic and fear in a newly released recording from the last minutes aboard a doomed South Korean ferry.
The shaky video was discovered on the cellphone of a 17-year-old student, Park Su-hyeon, when rescuers recovered his body. The boy's father provided it Thursday to The Associated Press, saying he wanted to show the world the ship's condition as it sank.
Clips of the 15-minute recording show teens nervously calling the ferry their "Titanic" and saying "These are the pictures we need to take as our last memories." The teenagers talk of taking selfies, wonder if they'll make the news and discuss posting about the excitement later on Facebook.
The fear in the cabin builds as the listing becomes worse. Some say they feel dizzy, that their legs are shaking. One student can be seen walking with his hands braced against the wall for balance.
"Am I really going to die?" a student asks at 8:53 a.m., two minutes before a crew member on the bridge made the ferry's first distress call.
Students ask whether the ship will sink and where their teachers are. "What's the captain doing?"
Several times they are warned over the loudspeaker to stay where they are, even as the tilting increases and it becomes less possible for them to flee.
More than 300 people are dead or missing in the tragedy. About 220 bodies, mostly from inside the submerged vessel, have so far been recovered. More than 80 percent of the victims were students from one high school in Ansan, south of Seoul, on their way to the southern tourist island of Jeju for a school trip.
The captain and 14 others responsible for the ferry's navigation have been detained on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Prosecutors are investigating whether stability issues related to too much cargo or a redesign that added more cabins to the ship contributed to the sinking.
The teens' fear becomes more evident in the video as the ship continues to tilt.
"I'm really scared," a student says at one point.
"Is it really sinking?" another asks. "Wow, they're giving us life vests."
"I'm getting out of here," one says. "Me too, me too," says another.
A student says: "We have to survive now."
"We're all finished," says another.
— Patrick Garrity
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published May 1 2014, 10:32 AM