South Korea finds presumed remains of ferry disaster victim

2017-03-28 15:43
Workers checking on the surface of the damaged Sewol ferry between two barges during a salvage operation to bring the sunken ship back to surface. (Handout / HANKOOK ILBO / AFP)

Workers checking on the surface of the damaged Sewol ferry between two barges during a salvage operation to bring the sunken ship back to surface. (Handout / HANKOOK ILBO / AFP)

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Seoul — South Korean salvage crews on Tuesday found what is presumed to be the remains of one of the missing victims of a 2014 ferry disaster that killed 304 passengers, an official said.

The remains were found in the waters near where the ship's wreckage was raised last week, said an official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. After the ship was raised, it was loaded onto a heavy lift transport vessel that will carry it to port.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules, couldn't immediately confirm further details.

Rescue workers had recovered the bodies of 295 passengers — most of them students on a high school trip — before the government ended underwater searches in November 2014, seven months after the ship sank. Nine of the ferry's passengers had remained missing.

Earlier Tuesday, the relatives of the missing passengers participated in an emotional memorial service on a boat near the transport vessel holding the ferry, where representatives of Catholic and Protestant churches and Buddhists delivered prayers wishing for the remains of the nine to be recovered.

Relatives threw into the sea yellow roses, a colour that has become the symbol of their suffering, and watched from afar as crews on the transport vessel continued to empty the ferry of water and fuel.

"The ship has come up, but not the nine people inside it," Lee Geum-hee, the mother of a missing schoolgirl, told a television crew. "Please don't forget there are people inside the dirty, rusty and smelly wreckage. ... Please do the best and let us bring them back home."

Once the ferry reaches a port in the city of Mokpo, investigators will spend about a month cleaning it and evaluating it for safety.

They will then begin to search the vessel for the remains of the victims and look for clues that could further illuminate the cause of the sinking, which has been blamed on overloaded cargo, improper storage and other negligence.


Read more on:    south korea

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