The 6,325-ton vessel named Sewol was carrying 475 people, including hundreds of high school students on a field trip.
Updated — April 16, 8:30 p.m. ET
A rescue operation is underway to find survivors of a ferry carrying 475 people that sank Wednesday near South Korea.
Some people may have survived in an air pocket onboard the capsized ferry, a father of a student who had been traveling on the South Korean ship told Reuters reporters Thursday.
“(The child) told me in the text message, ‘I am alive, there are students alive, please save us quickly,” the father said.
South Korean coast guard helicopters rescued passengers from the balconies of the capsized ferry, as seen in these images from a video released by News Y via Yonhap.
Here a passenger of the sinking ferry is rescued and hoisted onto a Coast Guard helicopter.
The 475 passengers and crew aboard the sinking South Korean ferry was some 20 kilometers off the island of Byungpoong in Jindo.
“We heard a big thumping sound and the boat stopped. The boat is tilting and we have to hold on to something to stay seated,” a passenger told YTN.
The ferry was traveling from the port of Incheon to the southern resort island of Jeju when it sent a distress call and began leaning to one side.
This footage from YTN News 24 shows the capsized ferry as rescue efforts began.
Some of the 325 students on board the ferry jumped into the sea as the ship went down.
He added that some of the passengers were injured and bleeding and that, once in the water, the ocean was “so cold” and that he was “hurrying, thinking that I wanted to live.”
Distraught parents at Danwon high school search for their children’s names among a list of the survivors rescued from the wreck.
The parents have had to wait for a bus to meet their children who have been rescued.
Parents attend a candle light vigil to hope for their children’s safe return at Danwon high school in Ansan, South Korea on April 16, 2014.