NATIONAL

Funeral held for Sewol ferry’s heroic teacher victim

By Kim Da-sol
  • Published : Nov 12, 2017 - 14:30
  • Updated : Nov 12, 2017 - 14:30
A funeral was held Saturday for a high school teacher who died in the Sewol ferry sinking in 2014 that claimed more than 300 lives. 

A man pays homage to the teacher Ko Chang-suk in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, Saturday. Yonhap

The memorial service for Ko Chang-suk was held in the southwestern city of Mokpo in South Jeolla Province and was attended by bereaved families, government officials, survivors of the disaster and students. 

Ko went missing while trying to rescue his students as the Sewol ferry sank in waters off Jindo on April 16, 2014. 

In early May, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said that a piece of bone discovered underwater was identified to be from Ko. He was one of nine passengers missing from the Sewol ferry sinking. Of the missing nine, the remains of four, including Ko’s, were discovered during a search of the shipwreck that was hoisted from the sea in March.

The ship was carrying 476 passengers, mostly students of Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. 

At the time of accident, Ko was in the lobby on the fifth floor of the ship, where it would have been relatively easy to escape, according to survivors. 

When the ferry started listing, Ko rushed to cabins on the fourth floor where students were staying and shouted at them to get out. He gave his life jacket to a student. He was last seen searching through cabins. 

“He could have escaped early,” one of the students who attended the memorial service was quoted as saying. “But he stayed to take care of us to the end.”

Ko’s remains will be laid to rest at Daejeon National Cemetery on Monday. 

The government decided that Ko should be buried in the national cemetery because he died while on duty.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)