After 25 weeks, 295th victim found within Sewol
Divers recovered the body of one of the victims of the Sewol sinking 102 days after the last remains were found and more than six months after the accident happened.
The body of the 295th victim was found yesterday in a women’s restroom on the fourth floor of the ferry, according to rescue officials.
The body is believed to be that of missing passenger Hwang Ji-hyeon, an 11th-grade student from Danwon High School on a school trip to Jeju Island with her schoolmates.
The discovery is bound to give hope to the nine remaining families whose relatives perished and whose remains have not been found.
The previous set of remains, of Lee Myo-hee, 56, a cook on the ship, was found on July 18.
The discovery follows the relatives’ difficult decision on Monday to ask for the search to continue despite winter weather approaching.
A minority of the relatives were in favor of giving up and allowing the Sewol to be raised to the surface, which they considered the last possible way to find the remains of their loved ones.
But in a secret vote, the majority voted for the divers to continue searching for the 10 unaccounted for victims. Two of the victims are a father and son.
“We agreed to salvage the ship if six out of the nine families supported it,” said Bae Eui-cheol, an attorney for the families, at a press conference.
“We concluded we should continue the search operations as only four families agreed to the idea.”
If they had stopped the search, the body found yesterday may have taken much longer to recover.
On Monday, the families also decided to request that the divers search sections of the ferry that were searched before, given that the oceanic and weather data provided by officials suggests that the search environment is better in November than in April, when the ferry sank with more than 300 victims. Divers have recovered remains of victims from inside and outside the ferry, but few after June.
After finding the 288th victim in the ship on May 21, another body was found on June 5 about 40 kilometers, or nearly 25 miles, away from where the ferry sank, raising concerns that the other remains had drifted away.
On June 6, divers recovered a 60-year-old cooking staff member only identified by the surname Kim.
Two days later, Yu Ni-na, a teacher at Danwon High School, and a male student of the school were found dead in the ship.
The 293th victim, Yun Min-ji, a female student of the high school, was also recovered from the ferry on June 24.
BY KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]