Samho Jewelry captain’s son: ‘My heart stopped’

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Samho Jewelry captain’s son: ‘My heart stopped’

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Lt. Gen. Lee Seong-ho of the Joint Chiefs of Staff gives a briefing about the rescue operation yesterday at the Defense Ministry in Yongsan, Seoul. [NEWSIS]


The families of the crew members of the Samho Jewelry, which was hijacked by Somali pirates, gave a sigh of relief at the news that their fathers, husbands and sons were safely rescued yesterday.

The ship’s captain, Seok Bae-gyun, 58, is said to be the only one who suffered a gunshot wound during the raid. “My heart stopped when the news of all members being rescued was broadcast,” said Seok Hyun-wook, 36, a son of the captain, in a trembling voice. “I wasn’t aware of the fact that the Korean Navy went out to rescue. If I knew that they were planning a rescue, I would have been nervous all along,” he added.

The son, Hyun-wook, who works in Seoul, said that his family “has been only praying for his safe return all along,” and that he is still worried about his father’s condition - he had been shot in the stomach - because he has received no details. The doors were shut tight and no one answered phone calls at the captain’s house in Geumjeong, Busan.

Kim Doo-chan, 61, who was the medical doctor onboard the Samho Jewelry, was also rescued safely with no wounds. “I’ve been worried sick about my father. Thank God he is safe,” Kim’s son, Dong-min, 28, said. “My father has been sailing for a long time, but never encountered such an incident,” continued Dong-min with his hand over his chest. “We just believed in the company and the government to do something and bring my father back. And they really did and I’m so thankful,” he added.

The family of crew member Choi Jin-kyung, 25, were delighted at the news of the rescue and said they now only hope to see him arrive safely in Korea. His father, Choi Young-soo, 52, who resides in Hwasun, South Jeolla, said, “We were in tears when we saw the news. My son just graduated from Mokpo National Maritime University, and it has been only five months since he started sailing. So when I heard the news of the hijack, I thought the sky was falling,” he said.

Choi added, “We will go to Busan as soon as we receive a phone call from the company notifying us of their arrival.” Choi’s mother, Kim Mi-seon, 50, who was at home praying with two daughters, said that she was “waiting for a phone call all day long to hear the news of my son.”

Yoon Seung-joon, 28, son-in-law of the ship’s chief engineer, Jeong Man-ki, 58, said, “My wife was under a lot of shock after hearing that her father’s ship was captive, but I’m relieved to hear the good news,” adding, “I thank all the people who have helped in the rescue.”

Among the 21 rescued seamen of the Korean-operated cargo ship, eight are Korean. “Fortunately everyone is rescued. We thank the government and the public for the rescue and support,” a Samho Shipping official said.

By Kim Sang-jin, Yoo Jee-ho [enational@joongang.co.kr]


Related Korean Article [중앙일보]

[‘아덴만 여명’] “모두 무사하다니…지옥서 살아온 느낌”
가슴 쓸어내린 선원 가족들 “피랍 이후 잠 편히 못 잤는데 … 정부·군에 감사 전하고 싶어

선원 가족들은 우리 해군의 구출작전이 성공했다는 소식을 듣고 기쁨의 눈물을 흘렸다. 삼호주얼리호에 승선했다 구출된 한국인 선원은 모두 8명이다. 가족들은 삼호주얼리호가 납치된 지난 15일 이후 선원들의 안전을 걱정하면서 노심초사해 왔다.

*김두찬(61·간호업무)씨 아들 동민(28)씨=“걱정을 무척 많이 했는데 무사히 구출됐다니 천만다행입니다. 갑작스러운 소식에 가슴이 떨립니다.” 동민씨는 “정부가 구출작전을 했다는 사실도 몰랐다”며 놀란 가슴을 쓸어내렸다. 그는 또 “그동안 회사와 정부만 믿고 기다리고 있었다”며 “아버지가 무사히 돌아올 수 있게 돼 고맙고 지옥에서 살아 돌아온 느낌”이라고 말했다.

*최진경(25)항해사 아버지 최영수(52)씨=“무사하다는 소식을 들었을 때 눈물이 날 정도로 기뻤다”며 감격했다. 그는 “아들이 목포해양대를 졸업하고 배를 탄 지 겨우 5개월밖에 되지 않았는데 납치됐다는 소식을 들었을 땐 하늘이 무너지는 것 같았다”며 “아직은 얼떨떨하다”고 소감을 밝혔다. 집에서 아들의 무사귀환을 기도한 어머니 김미선(50)씨도 “하루 종일 아들이 무사하다는 전화를 기다렸다”며 “기쁜 것보다는 아직도 가슴이 떨린다”고 말했다. …

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