South Korean President Park Geun-hye has likened the actions of the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry Sewol to murder.
The ship sank last week, killing 64 people onboard, many of them students and teachers on a class field trip from Seoul.
238 passengers are still missing as divers continue to search for survivors.
“The actions of the captain and some of the crew are absolutely unacceptable, unforgivable actions that are akin to murder,” Park said Monday in comments released by her office. She said she and other South Koreans were filled with “rage and horror.”
[Captain Lee Joon-seok] was not in the steering room when the accident took place, according to police and his own account.
He said he plotted the ship’s course, and then went to his cabin briefly “to tend to something.” It was then, the captain said, that the accident happened.
The captain was one those rescued soon after the Sewol began to sink, violating an “internationally recognised rule that a captain must stay on the vessel,” maritime law attorney Jack Hickey said.
“Pretty much every law, rule, regulation and standard throughout the world says that yes, the captain must stay with the ship until all personnel are safely off of the ship, certainly passengers.”
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