Since the ferry sank off the coast of South Korea last week, leaving more than 300 people missing or confirmed dead, officials and commentators have been quick to condemn the “unforgivable” conduct of captain and crew.

Yet as the death toll from the Sewol disaster continues to rise, eye-witness reports of a very different kind have started to emerge.

With the ferry heavily listing and the water rising, some crew members gave up their own lifejackets to let passengers have them, it has been reported.

One female steward refused to leave with a group of teenagers whom she had helped off the ship, saying it was her job to stay until everyone had been got to safety. She was later found dead.

Other senior members of the crew have described how they moved off to smaller ships but did not leave, instead risking the choppy waters to sail close to the Sewol and get people out through windows.

Nearly a week after the sinking of the ferry, the official death toll has risen above 100 for the first time.