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[Ferry Disaster] Two new bodies found, raising Sewol toll to 292

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Published : 2014-06-09 21:06
Updated : 2014-06-09 21:34

The death toll from the April 16 sinking of the ferry Sewol rose to 292, after two bodies, including that of a teacher, were found in the capsized ship on Sunday. A total of 12 remain missing.

Following the discovery of the bodies, the families of victims on Monday submitted a petition to the courts to preserve the video footage taken by the Coast Guard on the day of the disaster. President Park Geun-hye announced last month she would disband the government organization because of its poor handling of the incident.

“The footage is important evidence of what happened and it may not be preserved properly if it is only kept by the government,” the families of the victims said.

Discovered on Sunday morning was the body of Yoo Ni-na, a Danwon High School teacher specializing in Japanese language education. The 28-year-old was found on the third floor of the ship, which was the restaurant area. She was not wearing a life jacket.

Yoo, along with other teachers of Danwon High School, were staying in the cabin on the fifth floor ― where the majority of the survivors were rescued from ― when the ferry began capsizing. Yoo is one of the teachers who retreated to the lower decks in an attempt to rescue her students.

A total of 19 students from Yoo’s homeroom class survived. The class has the highest number of survivors among all of the classes at the school.

Only two of the 14 Danwon High School teachers survived, making them the group with the lowest survival rate among the passengers.

Meanwhile, 22 of the 29 crew members survived, including the ferry’s captain Lee Joon-seok and 14 others who were responsible for the operation of the ship.

Divers also found a male body on Sunday night on the fourth deck. A DNA test will be performed in order to identify the victim, the authorities said.

Meanwhile, an incense-burning altar was set up in Seoul on Saturday for child survivor Cho Yo-sep’s parents and older brother, who lost their lives in the disaster.

The 7-year-old and his family were on their way to Jejudo Island for a family holiday. The bodies of his mother and brother were found within the first week after the sinking. The body of his father, however, was discovered at sea on June 5 about 40.7 kilometers away from the wreck.

The sinking of the ferry, one of the deadliest maritime disasters in South Korean history, left 300 dead or missing, most of them teenage students from the Gyeonggi Province industrial city of Ansan.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)

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