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Captain, 3 other crewmen of sunken ferry charged with murder

2014/05/15 11:27

MOKPO, South Korea, May 15 (Yonhap) -- 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.

The 68-year-old captain, Lee Joon-seok, the chief engineer and the chief and second mates of the ferry Sewol are 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.

The 6,825-ton 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.

As rescue operations continued for one full month, the confirmed death toll stood at 281 as of Thursday, with 23 people still missing.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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