On the way to a high school field trip on Jeju Island (just off the coast of South Korea), some 304 students died in the capsizing of Sewol Ferry on April 16, 2014. As one of the most recent tragedies in South Korean history, the Sewol Ferry Incident is still a very prominent issue of importance today.
As the ferry was beginning to sink, many of the passengers stayed still and were told to wait for rescuers, who came all too late for many of them. The captain of the ferry, Lee Joon-seok, is one of the most widely hated men in Korea presently, as he was photographed fleeing to safety and leaving behind hundreds of passengers on board. In the aftermath of the sinking, Lee was sentenced to 36 in prison in November of 2014. Later, prosecutors appealed this verdict, sentencing him to life instead for the murder by appeal of the 304 passengers.
Widespread anger and confusion led to rumors around the sinking of the incident and the efficiency of the South Korean Coast Guard, whose captain was also jailed later for negligence and false reports relating to the incident. Though many promises have been made to further investigate the coast guard, progress has been slow due to communication errors between the families involved, the government, and the coast guard.
Great grief over the incident swept over the nation, slowing economic production and completely halting the production and promotion of pop music and popular television dramas in order to respect and highlight the loss of the families affected.