SOUTH KOREAN officials have confirmed that a set of bones found intact in the wreckage of the Sewol ferry is that of a student who was among the missing in the 2014 disaster.
According to Yonhap news, medical examiners concluded that the bones found on Tuesday belong to Heo Da-yoon after multiple analyses, including comparing the body’s teeth to the dental records of the missing victims.
It is the second set of remains identified following the recent search operation. On Wednesday, authorities confirmed that a piece of bone found on the site belonged to missing teacher Ko Chang-seok.
A total of 304 people were killed, mostly children on a school trip, when the Sewol ferry sank off Jindo island on April 16, 2014.
Prior to the latest discoveries, the bodies of nine people, including four students and two teachers, were never found despite it being three years since the sinking.
In March, the ferry was raised onto land, allowing workers to search the debris inside the wreck for human remains while divers continued looking on the seabed where the ferry had been lying.
The sinking of the Sewol is one of the worst maritime disasters in South Korea’s history. The botched rescue and the death toll, as a result, shocked and angered people in the country.
An investigation into the tragedy found evidence of negligence on the part of the coast guard as well as the actions of the crew and captain on the day of the tragedy.
In 2015, the captain of the ferry, Lee Joon-seok, was found guilty of homicide and jailed for life. Over half a dozen other crew members were given shorter sentences.
Survivors of the incident recounted how passengers were instructed by ferry officers to stay put as the vessel sank, which ultimately led to their death.
Former president Park Geun-hye has been accused of failing to act swiftly during the tragedy. Critics say she never fully explained what she was doing during the seven hours between the first news reports and her first television appearance that day.
Among speculation is that Park spent over 90 minutes getting her hair done during the first few critical hours of the tragedy.
Yonhap picked up a report by local daily Hankyoreh, which stated Park had her hairdresser at the presidential office between 1 and 3pm on April 16, 2014 which corresponded with the time that rescuers frantically searched for survivors in the waters.
However, the presidential office insists Park’s hairdo and makeup only took 20 minutes.
Additional reporting from Reuters