Families of Cheonan’s crew begin to plan funerals

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Families of Cheonan’s crew begin to plan funerals

The families of the dead and missing sailors of the Cheonan have begun to discuss funeral plans, a spokesman for the bereaved relatives said yesterday.

Lee Jeong-gook told a press conference that the surviving family members have begun discussing their plans with the Navy. Lee said the families wanted to respect each other’s local customs and religious backgrounds, and have agreed to form a committee of five senior members to handle the planning and discussions with the Navy.

Since the patrol corvette sunk on March 26, 38 of the 104 sailors aboard have been found dead and eight have not been found. The relatives of the still-missing men had wanted to hold off funerals until the ship’s sunken bow was retrieved. But gusting winds and high waves have forced the suspension of salvage operations, and Lee explained yesterday that the families wanted to start preparing for the funerals.

“We are trying to time the funerals with the salvage work for the bow,” Lee said. “But the families are all drained.”

Lee added the families would cooperate with the Navy and try to follow most of the plans the Navy has set out.

As the families mourned, a 22-year-old man was booked without detention in Seoul yesterday for spreading false rumors in cyberspace regarding the cause of the Cheonan’s sinking.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, a man surnamed Jang wrote on Web portal message boards that the Navy was notified of problems with the warship during a joint military exercise with the U.S. forces in March but took no action, leading to the sinking. The police said Jang posted the messages seven times between April 3 and 7.

During interrogation, Jang allegedly told police that he didn’t agree with views that North Korea might have been responsible for the sinking.

By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]

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