Daughter of South Korea Ferry Crewman Kills Herself

south korea ferry
A man stands in front of an altar dedicated to the missing and dead passengers on board the capsized Sewol ferry, at a port where family members are waiting for news from the search and rescue team in Jindo, April 28, 2014. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) - The daughter of a crew member of a South Korean ferry which sank killing hundreds of school children committed suicide on Thursday, police and prosecutors said, in a tragic twist to a disaster that prompted a nationwide outpouring of grief.

The crew member, facing a charge of negligence in the April 16 sinking, was granted temporary release from detention so that he could help arrange the funeral, a prosecution official said.

The 15 surviving crew of the ferry are on trial on charges ranging from negligence to homicide amid a public furor after video footage showed some escaping the sinking vessel as the children followed instructions and stayed on board.

The daughter had been preparing for years for a government exam, said a police officer in the southern city of Busan, where she was found dead.

"To become a public servant was my last hope, but I don't think that is my way. Thank you for supporting me and I am sorry," she said in a note left for her husband, the police officer said.

The Sewol, overloaded and traveling too fast on a turn, sank off the southwest coast on April 16 on a routine journey from Incheon on the mainland to the southern holiday island of Jeju.

Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, 339 were children and teachers from the same school on the outskirts of Seoul. Only 172 people were rescued and the remainder are all presumed to have drowned.