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Wednesday, August 13, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Guam Crash Aftermath Upsets Kin

AP

AGANA, Guam - Relatives of the Korean Air crash victims staged a sit-in today at Guam's airport, angered by problems with returning the remains to South Korea.

About 50 protesters, sitting on blankets or sheets of paper at the Korean Air ticket counter, complained that the recovery of the remains from the hillside crash site was taking too long.

The crash killed 226 people a week ago, and dozens of bodies and body parts are still in the wreckage. The recovery work has been hindered by the rough terrain and, in recent days, by more heavy rain.

Remains of 10 victims were flown back to Seoul early today. Authorities in Guam initially brought 12 sets of remains to the airport and then had to return two to the morgue, said Clifford Guzman, a governor's aide.

The bodies returned to Seoul belonged to seven passengers and three female crew members.

One of the 10 bodies that had been readied for transport back to South Korea had been misidentified and had to be switched before take-off from Guam, Guzman said.

Gov. Carl Gutierrez today apologized to protesters.

"Please believe me when I say I feel what you feel," said Gutierrez, who was one of the first people on the scene after the Aug. 6 crash.

Twenty-eight people survived the crash but three remained in critical condition at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, which has a state-of-the-art burns treatment center.

Matthew Furman, family affairs officer of the National Transportation Safety Board, said 46 of the more than 150 bodies recovered had been identified so far.

None of Meena Park's 11 relatives - which included her younger sister - has been identified.

Park's 8-year-old niece, Tiffany Kang, was on Flight 801. So was her sister, Meejin Park Lee, and nine of her sister's in-laws.

It's not the first time Park has known such anguish. Her husband was killed in 1983 when a Soviet missile shot down Korean Airlines Flight 007.

She, like other victims' relatives, suspects rescue workers sacrificed the search for survivors right after the crash to preserve the site for investigators. Officials have denied that.

"They were all busy to keep the evidence," she said.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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