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

(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.

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.
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)
South Korean coast guard officers try to rescue passengers from ferry Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
South Korean coast guard officers try to rescue passengers from ferry Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 16, 2014.   (AP Photo/Hyung Min-woo, Yonhap)
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