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Jacket found belonging to one of Sewol victims

Apr 29,2017
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Victims’ belongings from the Sewol ferry disaster are being displayed to determine who their previous owners were by the Sewol investigation committee at Mokpo, South Jeolla, on Thursday. [YONHAP]
The nation was given momentary solace on Thursday when work crews recovered a boy’s school uniform belonging to one of the nine unrecovered victims of the Sewol ferry disaster.

A name tag on the school jacket indicated that it had belonged to Park Young-in, a student of Danwon High School.

On April 16, 2014, 304 people lost their lives when the 6,825 ton vessel capsized off the southwestern waters of Korea. Of the 304, students of Danwon High accounted for 250 of the victims.

According to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries report on Friday, 290 items and 500 pieces of animal bone have been located since the search and recovery began at the Mokpo New Port last month.

The contents of the Thursday find were: three bags, three cell phones, nine articles of clothing, five pairs of shoes, five electronic devices and three miscellaneous items.

Park Young-in’s jacket was discovered in a room on the fourth floor of the Sewol. The search crews expect to locate the remains of two of the nine in one of the girls’ cabins.

The students had originally planned for a seashore excursion to Jeju Island, when the ferry, overburdened and top-heavy as a result of illegal modifications and improperly secured cargo, capsized. The poor decisions and lack of action by the crew, particularly the flight of the ship’s captain to safety, contributed to the needless loss of life.

The wreck was dredged last month and has been undergoing thorough examinations at Mokpo New Port, South Jeolla, to locate the remains and effects of the victims.

The salvage crew was also intent on recovering Sewol’s black box, which would have provided crucial data behind the causes of the sinking.

However, the crew was unable to retrieve the item. Workers at Mokpo had initially started the search for the black box on Wednesday at the pilothouse.

“Since [Friday] morning we have suspended work on the pilothouse and workers are searching for the [remains] of the missing victims in the different sections,” said Kwon Yeong-bin, a member of the Sewol investigation committee.

While there was a brief moment of catharsis when bones thought to belong to one of the unrecovered victims were found in March, forensic analysis showed they were in fact animal remains.

BY HWANG HO-SUB [hwang.hosub@joongang.co.kr]