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Transcript: Passengers couldn't escape South Korean ferry, crew member says

April 21, 2014

Published on Apr 21, 2014

By Ralph Ellis, KJ Kwon and Greg Botelho


Jindo, South Korea (CNN) -- Passengers aboard the doomed South Korean ferry couldn't reach lifeboats to escape because the ship tilted so quickly that it left many of them unable to move, according to a radio transcript released Sunday.

"Please notify the coast guard. Our ship is in danger. The ship is rolling right now," a crew member on the ship first tells authorities in a dramatic conversation that took place while the Sewol ferry was sinking.

An unidentified crew member on the Sewol talked to two different Vessel Traffic Service centers as the ship sank Wednesday morning, the transcript revealed. Someone on the ship contacted the traffic service in Jeju -- the ferry's destination -- at 8:55 a.m. and communicated with it before the conversation switched to Jindo VTS, which was closer, about 11 minutes later.

"The ship rolled over a lot right now. Cannot move. Please come quickly," the crew member says a minute after initial contact.

Hear frantic audio from sinking ship Transcript reveals ferry tragedy details Why did the captain abandon ship? Could moving the ship hurt survivors?

At one point Jeju advises the crew to get people into life vests.

"It is hard for people to move," Sewol replies.

After the conversation switches to the traffic service in Jindo, the Sewol crew member says several times that the ship is leaning too much for passengers to move.

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