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South Korea ferry disaster: I can't believe my daughter is dead, says father

Published on Apr 17, 2014 4:13 PM

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Parents of 24-year-old teacher Choi Hye Jung sobbed as they spoke about their daughter at the hospital where her body was taken.

Ms Choi, a Danwon High School teacher who was heading to Jeju island on a school trip, was found dead at around midnight on Wednesday.

The maritime police transported her body to a hospital in the southern city of Mokpo in South Jeolla province.

"I cannot believe the death of my daughter. She was very smart and ambitious," said Ms Choi's father Choi Jae Gyu.

A relative waits on a pier in Jindo on April 17, 2014, as the frantic search for nearly 300 people, most of them schoolchildren, missing after a South Korean ferry capsized extended into a second day, as distraught relatives maintained an agonising vigil on shore. -- PHOTO: AFP

South Korea ferry sinking graphic

Double-majoring in English and History at Dongguk University in Seoul, Ms Choi started her career at Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi province, right after qualifying as a teacher.

"She texted me that the departure of the trip was delayed due to the weather. That was the last text," her father said.

He spoke about his daughter's passion for teaching. The 24-year-old never complained about working overtime, the father recalled

"Her pupils followed my daughter very well. Her students used to give her a hug whenever they visited the teacher's room."

Ms Choi, the eldest of two daughters, once sought to become an air force officer but later decided to become a teacher, Mr Choi said.

Sitting bent in a chair, Ms Choi's mother wept continuously, saying nothing.