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Families of South Korean ferry crew members face stigma

Thursday, November 27, 2014 - 01:31

Families of crew members who survived South Korea's ferry disaster that killed over 300 people in April, say they face isolation from society. Yiming Woo reports.

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Im Young-ae's husband is one of the crew members who survived the sinking of the Sewol ferry. More than 300 passengers died, most of them students on a school trip. Im's husband is now serving a five year jail term for negligence. The crew has been vilified since video emerged, showing they were among the first to be rescued, while teenagers waited in their cabins. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) WIFE OF SOUTH KOREAN SUNKEN FERRY CREWMAN, IM YOUNG-AE, SAYING: "When it comes to Sewol, people give us such wicked looks. The crew are people who deserve to die. I don't want anyone to recognise me. I avoid people as much as I can." Her son and daughter face similar isolation from society and have quit their jobs in Seoul. In Jindo, near where the ferry sunk, some relatives of missing passengers are still waiting for their bodies to be found, even after the search has been called off. A few of them are sympathetic to the families of the crew. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) FAMILY MEMBER OF MISSING FERRY PASSENGER, KWON OH-BOK, SAYING: "The crew's families can't be blamed. I read a newspaper saying one of the crew members got the job (on the Sewol ferry) a day before the accident. He's really an unlucky man. Let's stop talking about the crew." The vessel was found to be top-heavy and unstable -- parts were added to it to carry more passengers, endangering what was a routine journey.

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Families of South Korean ferry crew members face stigma

Thursday, November 27, 2014 - 01:31