+ A

Bone fragment is not unrecovered victim’s

Nov 29,2017
The bone fragment discovered from the Sewol ferry on Nov. 17 has been confirmed to be that of Lee Young-sook, whose almost complete skeleton was found in May, announced the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on Tuesday.

The ministry announced that it received confirmation from the National Forensics Service, which carried out the DNA test of the bone fragment, and said it is strongly considering adding a civilian expert to lead the search team as a follow-up measure.

The Sewol search team, which is overseen by the ministry, was under public criticism for withholding the discovery of the bone fragment last week, with a senior official of the team being fired. The search team concealed the information for four days, including the day before the families of the five unrecovered victims were going to carry out their funerals on Nov. 18.

“The report of the bone fragment came as very painful and confusing news,” said the families of the victims, “but we still feel bad for those who headed the search team.” They explained, “We were told that the bone fragment was discovered from a place that the team had already investigated, so it does not seem like they withheld the information from us out of malicious intent.”

The information was withheld because the search team did not want to “cause more grief and confusion for the victims’ families when the chances of the bone fragment belonging to one of the remaining five victims was faint,” according to Oceans and Fisheries Minister Kim Young-choon, who gave a briefing of the discovery on Nov. 23.

BY KIM MIN-SANG, LAURA SONG [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]