Bizarro Brian linked to an article in the Korea Times describing how "The Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs designated four people who died while trying to save other people's lives despite danger as righteous deaths".
Two of the honoured died saving others who were drowning and one tried to save a drowning person but failed.
I was a lifeguard for nearly twenty years and a competitive swimmer before that. First, I can agree that these people were heroes: they attempted to save another at great risk to themselves. I do admire their courage and sacrifice.
On the other hand, I was taught, and, as an instructor, I teach, to "protect the most important person" - That important person being me, the prospective rescuer. If the rescue is too dangerous, then you are likely to need rescuing yourself - making two victims for the next person to attempt to help.
It's easy to say, "Stop and coldly evaluate your chances" but probably harder to put that advice into practise.
I think I have to admire these selfless people who lost their lives helping others, but I just wish Koreans could swim a little better.