Ansan families face reality that their loved ones may never return
- POSTED: 28 Apr 2014 16:19
- UPDATED: 28 Apr 2014 20:06
With the ferry disaster in South Korea entering its second week, the city of Ansan -- where many of the victims were from -- is dark and gloomy.
ANSAN: With the ferry disaster in South Korea entering its second week, the city of Ansan -- where many of the victims were from -- is dark and gloomy.
Families of those still reported missing are starting to face the reality that their loved ones may be gone forever.
It's not just excruciating times for them, but also for families who have found the bodies of their beloved children.
More than 300 are dead or still unaccounted for -- the majority of them teenagers studying in Ansan's Danwon High School.
It's common scene for hearses to head into Danwon High School -- a school that has lost nearly a quarter of its student population in the ferry disaster.
They are followed by buses, carrying family members and relatives.
This hearse stops inside the school, and a young boy carrying a portrait of Kim So Jeong walks to her classroom and towards her desk where she studied.
The ritual was to allow 16-year-old Kim So Jeong to see her classroom one last time.
The pain is too much for the mother to bear. She calls out for her daughter, crying that this can't be true.
She collapses as other family members try to console her. But nothing can help her - as she mourns the death of her daughter.
They head outside to the school field -- a place where Kim So Jeong used to run, giggle -- and chat with her friends.
Her mother, barely able to stand, is held up by others around her.
A short ceremony is held -- a rite for the spirits of the dead. Wine is poured and placed in front of the portrait. Then they bow.
Outside, more hearses enter the school as parents want their children to see their high school for one last time before they head for their place of burial.
Their school mates also bid their final farewell.
A memorial site of sorts has been set up outside the gates of the school -- with flowers and messages -- asking those still missing to come back alive.
Most of them say "we are sorry" and one says "please, I pray for a miracle".
More than 11 days have passed since the ferry capsized, and it will be a miracle if anyone is found alive.
For the affected families, they are trying to face the reality that their loved ones are gone forever.