Korea Ferry Crew Who Jumped Ship Indicted for Murder
Captain, 3 others could face death penalty
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2014 12:56 AM CDT
A woman puts a paper ship to pay tribute to the victims and missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol at a group memorial altar in Seoul, South Korea.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

(Newser) – The captain and three other crew members who abandoned a ferry as it sank off the coast of South Korea with hundreds of passengers still on board have been indicted on murder charges. Another 11 crew members have been charged with negligence, reports Reuters. "The captain, a first officer and second officer and the chief engineer escaped before the passengers, leading to grave casualties," the prosecutor told reporters, adding that homicide charges were applied "because they did not exercise their duty of aid and relief, leading to the deaths of passengers."

  • Some crew members had confessed "they were thinking about their own lives," even though they knew passengers would die without their help, the prosecutor said. The captain and other crew members were caught on video abandoning ship while passengers had been told to stay put and wait for instructions.
  • As of today, 281 people, including many schoolchildren, have been found dead and 23 are still missing, reports the New York Times.
  • Earlier this week, three crew members who died saving passengers were honored by the South Korean government, reports the BBC. They include an engaged couple and a 22-year-old woman, the youngest crew member on board, who gave her life jacket to a passenger and died while helping passengers escape. She "pushed shocked passengers toward the exit even when the water was up to her chest," a survivor said. The three have been designated "martyrs" and will be buried in a national cemetery.

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May 15, 2014 8:43 PM CDT
Captain Crunch would have been a better commander.
May 15, 2014 7:37 AM CDT
I think we should all go forward with a little bit of perspective on ferry and cruise captains. No they are not like the military types we see in movies. Think about that before stepping on one. Yes they should be expected to act in accordance with the guidelines set before them. But knowing how they SHOULD act won't do you any good when you're dead. I would just caution people to think about that before stepping on a ferry or cruise ship.
May 15, 2014 6:43 AM CDT
I can understand some of the crew abandoning their duty and taking the easy way, but the Captain and First Officer? That Cruise Line Captain did the same thing. These "officers" must be nothing but family members of the owners. They have no honor, sea experience or knowledge. A complete background investigation needs to be done of these people that serve on all capital ships.