The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea's southwestern tip, with hundreds feared dead, said in a promotional video four years ago that the journey was safe — as long as passengers followed the instructions of the crew.

The irony is the crew ordered the passengers, mostly high school children, to stay put in their cabins as the ferry sank last Wednesday. As is customary in hierarchical South Korean society, the orders were not questioned.

Many of those who escaped alive either did not hear or flouted the instructions and were rescued as they jumped off the deck.