Three crewmembers of the sunken ferry Sewol have been recognized as heroes who gave their lives in the service of others. The three are Kim Gi-woong (28), a part-timer on the ferry, his girlfriend Jeong Hyeon-seon (28), a member of the service crew, and Park Ji-young (22), also a service crewmember.
Park gave up her life jacket to a girl from Danwon High School and helped passengers escape. According to the testimonies of four survivors, the girl asked Park what she intended to do after giving up her life jacket. She told her, "I'll get out after I save all of you."
An official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Monday, "There have been accounts that Park saved the lives of around 50 passengers."
Kim and Jeong planned to get married this autumn, but both went deeper into the ship to rescue more passengers, only to lose their own lives.
"Recognition as a hero usually involves voluntary acts of sacrifice that go beyond the requirements of one's profession," the official said. "Although these individuals were crewmembers, their heroic acts are being recognized since they remained in the ship until the last moment to save other people's lives."
The families of individuals who are so recognized receive W202.9 million (US$1=W1,025) in compensation as well as medical costs. The government also pays for the school fees of any children.
Families can request to have them laid to rest in a national cemetery.