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S. Korean sailor from fishing vessel freed from pirates dies in Kenya

 A South Korean sailor from a fishing vessel freed recently from Somali pirates was found dead in Kenya on Thursday after apparently falling from his hotel room, a foreign ministry official said.

Kim Yong-hyun, 68, one of the 43 crew members of the Keummi 305 released last week after four months in the hands of Somali pirates, died at 2:25 a.m. (local time) after apparently falling from the veranda of his third-floor hotel room, the official said.

Kim died after apparently falling from the veranda of his third-floor hotel room in Kenya.(Yonhap News)
Kim died after apparently falling from the veranda of his third-floor hotel room in Kenya.(Yonhap News)

The third floor of the hotel is equivalent to the fourth floor in South Korean buildings, he said.

A security guard at the hotel heard him falling to the ground, according to the official.

No suicide note was found and his body has been moved to a local hospital, the official said.
(Kim Yong-hyun, was one of the 43 crew members of the Keummi 305 released last week after four months in the hands of Somali pirates. (Yonhap News)
(Kim Yong-hyun, was one of the 43 crew members of the Keummi 305 released last week after four months in the hands of Somali pirates. (Yonhap News)

He also said the Kenyan police are conducting an investigation against a Kenyan who was in Kim's hotel room shortly before he fell to his death, securing a testimony that there was a quarrel between them.

Kim, the trawler's chief engineer, was one of two South Koreans among the Keummi's crew that also included two Chinese and 39 Kenyans. Pirates released the trawler on Wednesday last week, and the vessel entered the Kenyan port of Mombasa on Tuesday.

Kim was released with a bruise on his head, but the injury was not serious enough to receive medical care.

On Wednesday night, Kim had dinner with the ship's South Korean captain, Kim Dae-keun, and his business partner, Kim Jong-kyu, and there was "nothing unusual about" him, the official said.

After arriving in Kenya on Tuesday, Kim Yong-hyun had weighed whether to return to South Korea because he had months of unpaid wages there while the captain asked him to keep working there without returning home.

On Wednesday morning, he told officials that he would remain in Kenya, the official said.

South Korea's embassy in Kenya has local police to conduct a swift and thorough probe into his death.   

The government plans to help Kim's family members visit Kenya if they want to do so, and provide other support necessary in holding his funeral and bringing his body home, the official said.


<관련 기사>

금미305호 기관장 유가족 오늘 케냐행

케냐 몸바사항에서 숨진 금미305호 기관장 김용현(68)씨의 유가족이 18일 케냐로 출국할 예정이라고 외교통상부가 밝혔다.    

외교부 관계자는 "유가족에게 현재 수사 상황과 사고 경위에 대해 설명했으며 김씨의 아들 진곤(41)씨와 처남이 오늘 케냐로 갈 예정"이라고 말했다.

유가족은 케냐에서 수사 상황을 살펴보고 시신을 어떻게 처리할지 결정하기로 했다. 외교부는 유가족 의사에 따라 시신 운구와 장례 등 필요한 절차를 적극  지원할 방침이다.

지난해 10월 소말리아 해적에 납치됐다가 124일 만에 풀려난 금미305호의  기관장인 김씨는 현지 시간으로 17일 오전 2시25분께 케냐 몸바사항의 한 호텔에서 떨어져 숨진 채 발견됐다.

현지 케냐 경찰이 현장 검증을 실시했고 추락 당시 김씨와 함께 있었던 케냐인 여성 1명을 체포, 조사 중이지만 수사 결과가 나오기까지는 상당한 시일이 걸릴  것으로 보인다고 외교부는 전했다. (연합뉴스)
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