The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

April 22, 2014

An ocean of broken hearts

220 people—mostly students—still missing from capsized South Korean ferry

JINDO, South Korea —

Lee Byung-soo says he knew, when he saw his 15-year-old son’s body in the tent. It could not have been more horrifically obvious. But he wanted so much for him to be alive.
“Stop sleeping!” the truck driver yelled as he hugged Lee Seok-joon. “Why are you sleeping so much? Daddy will save you!” 
He pumped his son’s chest and blew into his mouth to try to resuscitate him, “but I could only smell a rotting stench.” 
This is the kind of heartbreak that awaits the families of about 220 people still missing from the submerged ferry Sewol, or at least those whose relatives’ bodies are ultimately recovered. Families who once dreamed of miraculous rescues now simply hope their loved ones’ remains are recovered soon, before the ocean does much more damage.
“At first, I was just very sad, but now it’s like an endless wait,” said Woo Dong-suk, a construction worker and uncle of one of the students. “It’s been too long already. The bodies must be decayed. The parents’ only wish right now is to find the bodies before they are badly decomposed.”
The pace of recovering bodies has accelerated in recent days, since divers finally succeeded in entering the vessel. There were 86 confirmed fatalities as of Monday night.
After the bodies are pulled from the water, police and doctors look for forms of ID and take notes on the body’s appearance, clothing and any identifying physical marks such as moles, said a Health Ministry official who was helping coordinate the effort and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
Lee Seok-joon arrived as Body No. 41. The official description bore few details: a boy. Mole on forehead. Wearing a pair of Adidas track pants. 

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