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These Families' Grief At Losing Their Children In A Ferry Accident Leaps Out Of These Pictures

The Sewol Ferry Disaster occurred exactly three years ago, killing 304 people, mostly high school students.

Posted on April 16, 2017, at 11:32 p.m. ET

Three years ago, on Apr. 16, 2014, the MV Sewol, a ferry carrying 476 people between the cities of Incheon and Jeju, capsized.

A makeshift shrine for the Sewol ferry victims at the Paengmok Port, Jindo County, July 2014.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

A makeshift shrine for the Sewol ferry victims at the Paengmok Port, Jindo County, July 2014.

The ship's sinking killed 304 people — most of whom were high school students.

Three days after the sinking, government officials monitor the Paengmok Port, April 19, 2014.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

Three days after the sinking, government officials monitor the Paengmok Port, April 19, 2014.

The tragedy caused a scandal in South Korea: The captain and crew charged were charged with murder, and the government was criticized heavily.

Bereaved Sewol families leave protest tents near the presidential palace after 76 days — with no response from President Park Geun-hye — to thank residents and supporters, Nov. 5, 2014.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

Bereaved Sewol families leave protest tents near the presidential palace after 76 days — with no response from President Park Geun-hye — to thank residents and supporters, Nov. 5, 2014.

In the years since, the weight of the loss has stayed with the families of the victims.

One hundred days after the ferry disaster, and on day 10 of the hunger strike, 20,000 people gathered at Seoul Plaza near City Hall to mourn and commemorate the Sewol victims, July 24, 2014.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

One hundred days after the ferry disaster, and on day 10 of the hunger strike, 20,000 people gathered at Seoul Plaza near City Hall to mourn and commemorate the Sewol victims, July 24, 2014.

Flowers, treats, and mementos were laid on the desks of the victims at Danwon High School, March 25, 2015. (Empty desks belonged to survivors.) Out of 325 students on board, only 75 escaped.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

Flowers, treats, and mementos were laid on the desks of the victims at Danwon High School, March 25, 2015. (Empty desks belonged to survivors.) Out of 325 students on board, only 75 escaped.

The Jindo Gymnasium was the emergency shelter for the families of the missing passengers for seven months. Passengers bodies were retrieved one by one, and as time passed the families began congratulating each other when their respective childrens bodies were recovered. One parent described the experience as funerals taking place every 25 minutes, alluding to the magnitude of the disaster. The search mission for missing bodies ended in November, and nine passengers bodies are still believed to be trapped inside the sunken ferry.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

The Jindo Gymnasium was the emergency shelter for the families of the missing passengers for seven months. Passengers bodies were retrieved one by one, and as time passed the families began congratulating each other when their respective childrens bodies were recovered. One parent described the experience as funerals taking place every 25 minutes, alluding to the magnitude of the disaster. The search mission for missing bodies ended in November, and nine passengers bodies are still believed to be trapped inside the sunken ferry.

Sewol student victim Ahn Ju-hyun's mother, Kim Jeong-hae, weeps quietly leaning on the glass chest where her son's ashes are laid to rest, March 26, 2016.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

Sewol student victim Ahn Ju-hyun's mother, Kim Jeong-hae, weeps quietly leaning on the glass chest where her son's ashes are laid to rest, March 26, 2016.

A sobbing Sewol mother bows to the funerary portraits of the ferry victims before the shaving ceremony begins, Seoul, April 2, 2015.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

A sobbing Sewol mother bows to the funerary portraits of the ferry victims before the shaving ceremony begins, Seoul, April 2, 2015.

Sewol victim Kim Si-yeon's mother, Yoon Kyung-hee, and sister, Kim Ee-yeon, lean on each other before the two-day protest march to Seoul begins, Ansan, South Korea, April 4, 2015. Parents of the children who died on the Sewol shaved their heads and set out holding their children's funerary portraits. They marched in protest of the government's intervention into what was supposed to be an independent investigation of the disaster.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

Sewol victim Kim Si-yeon's mother, Yoon Kyung-hee, and sister, Kim Ee-yeon, lean on each other before the two-day protest march to Seoul begins, Ansan, South Korea, April 4, 2015. Parents of the children who died on the Sewol shaved their heads and set out holding their children's funerary portraits. They marched in protest of the government's intervention into what was supposed to be an independent investigation of the disaster.

The Sewol hunger striker and father Kim Young-oh blows out candles on the birthday of his late daughter, Yu-mins, Jan. 14, 2015. Yu-min would have turned 18.
Jun Michael Park / laif / Redux

The Sewol hunger striker and father Kim Young-oh blows out candles on the birthday of his late daughter, Yu-mins, Jan. 14, 2015. Yu-min would have turned 18.

Stars shine above the red lighthouse in Paengmok Port, which has been dubbed the "lighthouse of waiting," Jindo, South Korea, Dec. 30, 2016. Nine victims were never found, and their relatives have been waiting three years for the ship to be salvaged.
Jun Michael Park / laif

Stars shine above the red lighthouse in Paengmok Port, which has been dubbed the "lighthouse of waiting," Jindo, South Korea, Dec. 30, 2016. Nine victims were never found, and their relatives have been waiting three years for the ship to be salvaged.

Two floating platforms raise the Sewol ferry near the accident site, which is close to Donggeocha Island in Jindo, South Korea, March 23. Once the ship sufficiently surfaces, it will be carried to Mokpo New Port, the nearest major harbor. There officials will attempt to recover the missing bodies and examine the vessel to determine what caused it to capsize.
Jun Michael Park / laif

Two floating platforms raise the Sewol ferry near the accident site, which is close to Donggeocha Island in Jindo, South Korea, March 23. Once the ship sufficiently surfaces, it will be carried to Mokpo New Port, the nearest major harbor. There officials will attempt to recover the missing bodies and examine the vessel to determine what caused it to capsize.

Sewol student victim Oh Young-seok's mother, Kwon Mi-hwa, breaks down after the victims' memorabilia are cleared out of their classrooms, Aug. 20, 2016.
Jun Michael Park

Sewol student victim Oh Young-seok's mother, Kwon Mi-hwa, breaks down after the victims' memorabilia are cleared out of their classrooms, Aug. 20, 2016.


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