TIME Heroes

As Hope for Ferry Survivors Fades, Stories of Heroism Emerge

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Tales of young crew members helping passengers escape the doomed Sewol ferry are emerging in the aftermath of its sinking off South Korea. At the same time, the official death toll from the disaster continues to climb and funerals are held for those victims whose bodies have already been recovered.

Praise has poured in for three crew members — Kim Ki-woong,Jeong Hyun-seon and Park Jee-young – who sacrificed their lives trying to help passengers to safety while the vessel ferry sank on April 17.

Park Ji-young, 22, a part-time ferry employee, reportedly helped passengers escape and tended to the injured. Survivors say she refused to abandon ship while there were passengers yet to be rescued.

Crew member Kim Ki-woong, 28, and his fiancée, Jeong Hyun-seon, 27, were said to be yelling to passengers to get out as the ship was sinking. “Then, the couple went back to the cabins to save other passengers. And they never came back,” one survivor told The Korea Times.

Over 31,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the three to be buried at the national cemetery and their families provided compensation for their deaths.

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