South Korean coast guard officers and rescue team members try to rescue passengers from passenger ship Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Dozens of boats, helicopters and divers scrambled Wednesday to rescue more than 470 people, including 325 high school students on a school trip, after a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast, killing at least two and injuring 14, officials said. (AP Photo/Hyung Min-woo, Yonhap) KOREA OUT

Seoul - 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 furore 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 travelling too fast on a turn, sank off the south-west 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. - Reuters