Bone Find Identified as Teacher Who Died in Ferry Wreck

  • By Yoon Ju-heon

    May 18, 2017 12:17

    A bone discovered in waters where the ill-fated ferry Sewol sank in 2014 was that of Ko Chang-seok, a teacher at Danwon High School. He was 40 years old.

    Ko is the first of nine victims still listed as missing whose remains have been officially identified, but the remains of one of the students at the high school have also almost certainly been found in the salvaged wreck itself.

    The 34 cm-long bone was found on the seabed in waters off Jindo, South Jeolla Province on May 5, and the National Forensic Servic carried out the DNA testing that was expected to take about a month, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said Wednesday.

    "The test result came out earlier than expected, because the bone was in good condition," a ministry spokesman said.

    Ko's wife (39) said, "I don't know whether I should be glad or sad to see my husband was found in the form of a bone." 

    A picture of Ko Chang-seok hangs in the port in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province on Wednesday. /Yonhap

    At the time of accident, Ko was in a lobby on the fifth floor of the ship from which it would have been relatively easy to escape.

    But when the ferry started sinking, he rushed down to cabins on the fourth floor where students were staying and shouted at them to get out, according to survivors. He gave his life jacket to a student.

    A surviving student said, "He could have fled early, but he stayed to take care of us to the end."

    Ko had become a physical education teacher at Danwon High School only a month earlier. He was such an attentive husband that he delivered snacks to his wife, who was a teacher at a school next door, over the fence if she had skipped breakfast.

    On the morning of the accident, he texted her, "You're having a hard time taking care of kids. I'm sorry." Those turned out to be his last words to his wife.

    Meanwhile, Wednesday saw the discovery of more presumably human bone fragments in the mud from cabins on the third and fourth floors of the ferry wreck. 

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