South Korean Ferry Captain and 3 Crew Charged with Manslaughter
The captain and three other crew members of the South Korean ferry that sank last month, have been charged with manslaughter.
The captain of the Sewol ferry, Lee Joon-seok, along with the chief engineer, and the first and second mates, have been indicted on charges of manslaughter through gross negligence. The three could face the death penalty if convicted, but the penalty is very unlikely to be carried out, according to reports of the CNN.
The four are accused of leaving the ship as it was sinking while instructing the passengers to stay where they were. They also kept to themselves the information that a rescue boat had arrived. They took off their uniforms and changed into civilian clothes, violating the rule that uniformed crew members should be the last to evacuate, according to reports of The Guardian, citing the Munhwa Ilbo daily.
The local prosecutor's office also informed Thursday that the remaining 11 crew members had been indicted on charges of abandonment and violating a ship safety act.
The Sewol ferry sank en route to Jeju Island on April 16, killing 281 people and leaving 23 others still missing.
A total of 325 of the 476 passengers on board the ferry were children from a high school in Ansan City who were on a field trip.
Preliminary conclusions of investigators indicate that the ferry was carrying up to three times its safe cargo capacity.
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