ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
SEWOL DISASTER: Captain, 3 crewmen charged with murder
Publication Date : 15-05-2014
Prosecutors brought murder charges against the captain and three crew members of a sunken ferry on Thursday for abandoning the sinking ship without even trying to evacuate hundreds of passengers,Yonhap reported.
The report said that Lee Joon-seok, 68, as well as the chief engineer and the chief and second mates of the ferry Sewol were accused of leaving the ship as it was sinking while telling passengers, mostly high school students on a school excursion, to stay where they were inside the cabins. The sailors were among the first to be rescued by Coast Guard rescuers sent to the accident scene.
If convicted, they could face life in prison.
Charges against the captain also include violation of the marine accident rescue law and breach of professional duty.
Investigators also charged 11 other Sewol crew members for causing death by negligence and violating the marine accident rescue law after they abandoned the sinking ship, leaving behind the passengers and even their fellow sailors. All 15 sailors will stand trial at a district court in Gwangju, a city about 330 kilometres south of Seoul.
The 6,825-tonne ferry sank off the country's southwest coast near the port city of Mokpo on April 16 on its way to the southern resort island of Jeju.
The death toll stood at 281 as of Thursday, with 23 people still missing.