Last Wednesday, the Sewol ferry took off from the port of Incheon carrying 476 people, 325 of whom were students with 15 staff members on a field trip from Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, before sinking nearly 50 miles from its destination, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“The whole country of South Korea is clearly devastated by this because there were so many young lives involved,” Gabel-Luddy said on Thursday. “We host many young people who are of high-school age. It affects the South Koreans and it affects our sister city community, as well the families here in Burbank who also host Korean students who come to stay with us.”
Last summer, a dozen Burbank students visited Incheon, which was named Burbank’s sister city in 1961.
In a letter to Incheon Mayor Song Young-Gill, Gabel-Luddy said the city of Burbank and the Sister City Committee are “deeply saddened” by the country’s loss.
“We have a special bond with Incheon,” Gabel-Luddy said. “It seemed natural to consider them part of a larger family and send our condolences on behalf of the city.”