JINDO, South Korea, April 23 (Xinhua) -- "Dad, the ferry is capsized." These were the last words a daughter spoke to her father in a cellphone call as the 6,825-ton ferry "Sewol" was listing.
A week later, when a Xinhua reporter saw the tan-skinned father, he was viewing a body, trying to identify whether it was his sole daughter. South Korea's Coast Guard later said the body was someone else based on a DNA test.
As search operations entered the eighth day, the death toll surged to 150 Wednesday after divers found more bodies in cabins of the submerged vessel.
The middle-aged father in his 40s has been overwhelmed by the sharply rising toll as he scans the list of recovered bodies which describes heights, clothes and other forms of identification.
"How don't you go home? It turns dark, your parents will miss you. Have you had something to eat? Eat more, be safe and sound. Don't let your parents worry," he said to the female Xinhua reporter.
Just a day ago, the two met each other on a shuttle bus between a Jindo gym, where relatives live in makeshift accommodation, and temporary mortuaries at Paengmok Port on the island.
"Are you a volunteer?" the Xinhua reporter asked during the first encounter.
"No. I am Kim So Yeon's father. She is in Class Three, Grade Two," he said, pulling out card identifying him as a relative of a passenger.
When querried about his view on families' outrage toward the government's slow responce to the disaster, the man said, "I am not well-educated, so I don't know politics. I am an electrician."
He showed the Xinhua reporter a hand, the middle three fingers missing their nails.
At the coast, Jo A Leum, a first-year middle school student, cried to the sea: "Come back quickly brother. We miss you." She smiled to strangers with red eyes.
To express humbleness before the next-of-kin of the missing passengers, a South Korean TV photographer got down on his knees to shoot people's expressions and talked very gently with the bereaved families.
In front of the white tents prepared for the relatives, people wrote messages to their missing loved ones:
"Seong Min, what a pity you are in the ice-cold sea water? I dare not think about it."
"Sorrowful Sewol, why did you let so many people suffer ... Please make all people come back safely."
The "Sewol" carrying 476 passengers, including 325 Danwon High School students and 14 teachers, capsized in the waters off Jindo Island, South Jolla Province, on April 16, claiming at least 150 lives, with another 150 or so still missing.