April 26, 2010 13:05
The obsequies for the 46 sailors who died when the Navy corvette Cheonan sank began at the Second Navy Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province on Sunday. A five-day Navy funeral will be held until Thursday, the largest of its kind since the founding of the Navy.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Kim Sung-chan heads the funeral committee comprising 72 advisers including retired senior military officers and other eminent figures.
The government declared a five-day mourning period. On Thursday, the flag will be flown at half mast from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Altars have been set up in 16 cities and provinces including Seoul Plaza to receive mourners. The military also installed altars at 90 sites including the Seoul National Cemetery in Dongjak-dong, Seoul and Navy bases.
Preparing the bodies for burial and encoffining began on Friday. For the six sailors whose bodies have not been recovered, hair, fingernails and other relics will be cremated, a military spokesman said. The funeral service will be held on Thursday at the Second Navy Fleet Command.
Out of the 104 crew board on the ship on March 26, 58 sailors were rescued, and of the 46 missing sailors 40 have been confirmed dead. Thirty-eight were found in the stern, one in the funnel of the stern, and the remaining one in the gyrocompass room in the bow that was salvaged on Saturday. The other six may have been thrown off the ship in the explosion or swept away by tides.
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