A group of 7 fishermen went to the Banpo Riverside Park in the early morning hours when Son Jung Min went missing in the Han River and later ended up dead. Police are trying to figure out how the 21-year-old college student went from the grassy knoll and into the water during a missing 49 minutes between 3:38 a.m. to 4:27 a.m. when there were no eyewitnesses or CCTV footage to account for him or his friend “Mister A”.
But after scrolling through security footage to find new potential eyewitnesses, a group of fishermen were called in for questioning. One man says he saw a male figure wade into the river and then start swimming when the water reached around his neck. Out of the seven fishermen, five said they directly saw the swimmer. The other two heard splashing noises. And voice sounds of 아, 어 (ah, uh). (Probably because it was cold.)
It’s not confirmed whether it was Son Jung Min, :Mister A” or anyone related to the disappearance. They were about 80 meters away from a figure whom they say started walking into the river. From the distance, they could not tell for certain if it was a man or a woman. But from the body type, hair and style, they believe it was a man.
Did the fishermen see the swimmer before or after Mister A left the park through the tunnel exit?
The fishermen saw the swimmer after Mister A left the park. Mister A is filmed on CCTV leaving through the tunnel at 4:32 a.m.
Why did these fishermen report this now? How come it came so late?
Police have been culling through blackbox data of about 150 people who entered the park at times that would be helpful in terms of eyewitnesses. Investigators discovered their existence just recently. They were questioned for over 12 hours on May 12th.
But why didn’t the fishermen come forward voluntarily?
They didn’t see the situation of someone going swimming as an emergency that needed to be reported to the police.
Can we prove that these fishermen were actually at the park?
Forensics from CCTVs and car black boxes confirm that they entered and exited. The truth was also cross-referenced from the answers to the questions. CCTV showed they left the park at 5:12 a.m.
How accurate is the fishermen group’s timestamp of 4:40 a.m. in terms of seeing the swimmer?
One of the men took a picture of the bridge and river on his smartphone at 4:33 a.m. before he saw the swimmer. He then stayed at the spot and smoked a cigarette for five minutes, which is why he noticed the swimmer.
Is it possible to see or hear someone enter the water from 80 meters away?
The police will re-enact the eyewitness account of the fishermen. They will go to the fishermen’s spot at the same time in the morning and they will have someone enter the water at the same distance around 80 meters away to verify whether an accurate eyewitness account can be made. They will also check whether they can hear splashing sounds as claimed by two of the witnesses. Right now they are also analyzing the vomit fragments from SJM’s socks with the vomit deposits they found on a trail from the guy’s picnic spot to the river.
Did they analyze the depth of the Han River from the embankment?
After wading into the river about 7 meters, the depth is 1.3 meters. At 12 meters out, it’s 1.7 meters deep. This matches the visual eyewitness account of the progression of the swimmer going deeper and deeper into the water as he walked further into the river.
How did SJM’s father respond to the latest testimony of the fishermen?
“I don’t believe it’s likely that a group of 7 fishermen would be at the river at that time. I’d like to confirm that they were there through GPS. But in any event, they can’t confirm that they saw SJM. It’s absolutely preposterous that my son would go swimming in the Han River. First of all, he’d never go in the water if he weren’t wearing swimming trunks. And the most he’d do at his skill level is go into a swimming pool. He’d never go into open water in nature. He’s never swam in the ocean or a river.”
But observers say the variable here is that SJM had been heavily drinking. That may have altered his normal behavior pattern.