South Korea Sewol ferry disaster: Human remains found

In this handout photo released by the South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the sunken ferry Sewol is seen on its side on a semi-submersible transport vessel during the salvage operation in waters off Jindo, South Korea, 28 March 2017.Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The ship has been loaded onto a platform to be towed to shore

Remains believed to be from one or more of the missing victims of the Sewol ferry disaster have been found, officials say, days after the vessel was raised from the sea floor.

The Sewol sank off Jindo island on 16 April 2014, killing 304 people, almost all of them children.

The bodies of nine people were never found. Relatives have campaigned hard for them to be recovered.

The ship was raised last week and put onto a platform to be towed to port.

A South Korean official said the bones came out of a window of a passenger room during work to drain the ship.

“Six pieces of remains that were found are 4cm to 18cm long,” Lee Cheol-jo, an official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, told a briefing.

It was not yet known whether the remains came from one or several individuals. DNA tests would be performed to identify them, he said.

Media captionThe government bowed to pressure to raise the 6,825 tonne vessel (no sound on this video)

The ship is expected to reach Mokpo port later this week, where it will be met by families of the victims, before being cleaned and searched.

The sinking shocked the nation. Most of those on board were teenagers from the same high school. Many obeyed erroneous crew instructions to remain in their cabins as the ship sank.

The nine victims who have yet to be recovered are four school children, two teachers and a married couple and their child.

Image copyright
Reuters

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On Tuesday, relatives held a memorial service at sea near the raised ship

On Tuesday relatives of the nine held a memorial service on a boat near the raised vessel.

“The ship has come up, but not the nine people inside it,” Lee Geum-hee, the mother of a missing school girl, told local media.

“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.”

The disaster was blamed on a combination of illegal redesigns, cargo overloading, the inexperience of the crew member steering the vessel, and lax government regulations.

The ship’s captain was later convicted of murder.

South Korea Sewol ferry disaster: Human remains found}

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