While the captain and many of the crew of the Sewol-ho ferry have been widely vilified in Korea for their cowardly actions during the accident, there were a handful of heroes who paid the ultimate price helping others.
The Korean government on Monday recognized three part-time crew members who died as national martyrs.
Twenty-two-year-old Park Ji-young , a part-time worker on the ferry, endeared herself to the nation after it came to light that she had given her lifejacket to a passenger as she sought to guide people to safety.
Kim Ki-woong and Jung Hyun-seon, an engaged couple who also worked for the ferry operator, could have escaped the sinking vessel but stayed to help trapped passengers.
Their designation as martyrs means they can be buried at a national cemetery.
Their families will also be eligible for financial compensation, medical assistance and other incentives.
The government is also reviewing a list of others who were aboard the Sewol-ho for the martyr designation.