SKorean Ferry Tragedy Links: Death Count Tops 100; Acts of Bravery Among Ship’s Crew

Death Count In Ferry Sinking Tops 100

One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

Dozens of police officers in neon green jackets formed a cordon around the dock as the bodies arrived Tuesday. Since divers found a way over the weekend to enter the submerged ferry, the death count has shot up. Officials said Tuesday that confirmed fatalities had reached 104, with nearly 200 people still missing.

Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

As the ferry sank, some crew members gave their lifejackets to passengers. One refused to leave until she shepherded students off the ship, and was later found dead. Others worked from rescue boats to break windows with hammers and pull people trapped in cabins to safety.

Nearly a week after the sinking of the South Korean ferry, with rising outrage over a death count that could eventually top 300, the public verdict against the crew of the Sewol has been savage and quick. “Cowards!” social media users howled. “Unforgivable, murderous,” President Park Geun-hye said Monday of the captain and some crew.

Some fled the ferry, including the captain, but not all. At least seven of the 29 crew membersare missing or dead, and several of those who survived stayed on or near the ship to help passengers.

Port becomes epicenter of grief
Korea JoongAng Daily

The center of the sunken ferry tragedy shifted to Paengmok Harbor in Jindo, South Jeolla, where relatives of missing ferry passengers were invited to view remains to see if they are of their loved ones.

As rescue authorities extract a greater number of corpses from the capsized Sewol Ferry, relatives shifted from the gymnasium that has been their temporary home to the port 30 minutes away by car, where a row of snowy white tents have been erected for the viewing of remains and for families to rest.


First sign of South Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

The first distress call from a sinking South Korean ferry was made by a boy with a shaking voice, three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn.

He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.

The Sewol ferry sank last Wednesday on a routine trip south from the port of Incheon to the traditional honeymoon island of Jeju.

Grief Turns to Anger at Government Over Ferry Sinking

As the official death toll from a South Korean ferry that sank last week grew to more than 100, newspaper editorials suggest the national mood was shifting from grief to outrage at the government’s handling of the tragedy.

“People are descending into a collective sense of powerlessness, unable to trust the government with protecting them in emergency situations,” Chosun Ilbo, the nation’s largest circulation newspaper, said in an editorial headlined: “Emergency headquarters abound, but no real disaster handler.”

Owners of doomed ferry barred from leaving South Korea
USA Today

As the death toll from the sinking of a South Korea ferry climbed above 100, South Korean authorities arrested or detained six more crewmembers and issued a foreign travel ban for 44 executives, shareholders and family owners of the company that operated the ill-fated vessel.

Divers, who have opened up five underwater passages into the submerged ferry, continue to search around the clock for more bodies from the 5-story-high Sewol that sank off the southwest coast of Korea last week.

The death toll Tuesday increased to 121 out of the 476 people — mostly high school students — who were on board the vessel when it began listing 12 miles off the coast of theisland of Jindo after making a sharp turn.


Funeral for vice principal who took own life

Kang Min Kyu, 52, taught ethics.

Kang, who was vice principal at Ansan’s Danwon High School, was rescued from the sinking Sewol ferry.

Just two days after the accident, he was found dead after apparently hanging himself using a belt from a tree in the city of Jindo. In a note, he expressed regret he had survived while so many others had died.