More South Korean Ferry Crew Members Have Been Arrested, And Their President Fully Supports It
Only two days after the arrest of Captain Lee Joon-seok and his two subordinates, another four crew members of the sunken South Korean ferry have been arrested, one of them the ferry's chief engineer. South Korean prosecutors announced the charges as President Park Geun-hye condemned the crew's actions — which have resulted in the deaths of at least 64 passengers, while another 238 remain missing — on Monday, saying what they did was "like an act of murder."
As divers and drones continue the search for survivors from the Sewol ferry that capsized last Wednesday — carrying with it 475 people, most of whom are still unaccounted for — President Park Geun-hye said that those in charge of the boat would have to face "civil and criminal" responsibility for the part that they played. On Monday, charges were brought against one second mate, two first mates, and a chief engineer.
"The captain did not comply with passenger evacuation orders from the vessel traffic service... and escaped ahead of others while telling passengers to keep their seats. This is something that is never imaginable legally or ethically," she said to aides. "Above all, the conduct of the captain and some crew members is unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense, and it was like an act of murder that cannot and should not be tolerated."
Her comments come as a transcript of the call between a maritime traffic controller and one of the ferry's crew members was released, showing the chaos as the boat began to capsize. In spite of the fact that the ferry took two hours to flip and sink, the passengers were told to stay put while the captain abandoned ship, leaving a 26-year old third mate in charge. CNN's translation of the communication makes the confusion painfully clear:
On Saturday, the ferry's captain was arrested on charges of negligence and abandoning ships, along with the third mate and another crew member. Although 174 passengers survived the ferry's capsizing, 64 people have been confirmed dead, and another including 238 are still missing — most of those on board were children and teachers on a school trip. Two days after the accident, the vice principal in charge of the field trip committed suicide, apparently consumed with feelings of grief and responsibility.