SEATTLE -- Jonathan Kwon looks at his phone, flipping through Instagram images sent by his dear friend Richard Sohn. They are quite possibly the last contact the two ever have. Photos of Universal Studios, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon -- spectacular photos from a disastrous trip.
“He was really excited to be on that trip,” said Kwon. “And he couldn’t wait to get home and see all his friends.”
Sohn, 19, was on a tour bus when it crashed down a snowy embankment three hours east of Portland Saturday. Nine people died and 38 were injured.
An only child, Sohn was with his mom, dad and a group of Korean travelers on their way home from a trip to see the sights of the west coast.
“It kind of seemed like God was directing him and guiding him to all his majesty and beauty. Kind of like the last lap,” said Kwon.
Friends say Sohn’s mother survived the crash relatively unharmed. His father is still hospitalized with serious injuries.
Citing consulate officials in Vancouver, B.C., Korean media have listed Sohn as among the dead. State Police in Oregon, however, do not confirm that. The uncertainty adds to the anguish.
“We just ask the community to keep on praying for them,” said Kwon.
A youth leader in his Bothell church, friends describe Sohn as selfless. Kwon remembers how his roommate took the time to care for him when he was sick, an act of compassion rare among 19-year old-men.
“He made food for me in the kitchen. I was not ever expecting that kind of generosity. It was beautiful,” said Kwon.
An aspiring video director at Seattle Pacific University, Sohn produced silly skits with his college buddies on YouTube, along with an eerily poignant post by a young man with so much more to give. -- “You only live once. You only have one life. So you gotta make your life count in this world.”