Watch South Korean Ferry Captain Make A Run For It, With Hundreds Left On Board — VIDEO
Disturbing new footage shows the captain of the sunken South Korean ferry escaping the sinking ship via inflatable lifeboat — while hundreds of passengers remain onboard. Released by the South Korea Coast Guard, the 10-minute recording is poised to spark even more tension between the ferry's crew, government officials, and the families of the missing passengers. Only 174 people survived the tragic April 16 accident, including 22 crew members. More than 300 remain dead or missing.
The ferry's captain, Lee Joon-seok, was arrested April 19 along with two other crew members, including 25-year-old Park Han-gyeol, who was allegedly at the helm of the ferry at the time of the sinking. A prosecutor with the government's investigation told The New York Times that it was the first time Park was in charge of steering the ship through the Maenggol Waterway. The three members were arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need, and could face criminal accidental homicide charges.
In the newly-released footage, Lee can be seen climbing onto a life-raft as the ferry is titled at a 45-degree angle. He's wearing only a black sweater and underpants. According to The Associated Press, Lee rushed from the cabin to the raft, despite initially telling passengers to remain in their cabins. He didn't give the evacuation order until more than an hour after the ship began to sink, but by that time, it was too late.
The footage also shows other crew members sliding down the bridge of the ship to the lifeboat. Nearly all the surviving crew members were arrested one week later, but they've yet to be formally charged. South Korea Prime Minister Chung Hong-won also announced his resignation Sunday after taking responsibility for the government's slow response to the tragedy.
Many of the victims were found trapped in their cabins. Divers had to halt their search over the weekend due to bad weather, floating debris and powerful ocean currents. Meanwhile, investigators continue to raid Coast Guard vessel centers to collect more information on the cause of accident.