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Pres. of S. Korea blasts ferry captain; says actions 'tantamount to murder'

Recovery efforts continue in tragic sinking of S. Korean ferry, Sewol
Recovery efforts continue in tragic sinking of S. Korean ferry, Sewol
Photo credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

"You must've said, 'Daddy, save me,'" wept one father. His shout and the cries of other mourners were so chilling, that in a CNN news video, police guarding the recovery area of the sunken South Korean Ferry were seen wiping tears from their own faces. Last Wednesday the ferry, Sewol, sunk while carrying high school students on a field trip. Today, South Korean President Park Guen-Hye bluntly lashed out at the ferry’s captain and crew, calling their actions as the tragedy unfolded “tantamount to murder”.

English.news.cn is reporting that as of today 87 are confirmed dead, 174 have been rescued, and 215 still are unaccounted for. As details begin to unfold, investigators are alleging that Captain Lee Joon-Seok made several errors in judgment. The ferry made a turn without properly slowing down. When the ferry started going down Captain Joon-Seok was not actually at the wheel of the ship. He had given the helm to a third mate who’d had no prior experience sailing rough waters.

Joon-Seok has defended his actions saying he felt if he’d ordered evacuations, it would have been worse for the students because they would have been spread out in the waters, and there were not many ships in the vicinity to assist with rescue efforts and lift the kids out of the water. So he ordered the passengers to remain in place until further notice.

President Guen-Hye was furious and dismayed because despite ordering others to remain onboard, Captain Joon-Seok and some of the other crew were among the first to leave the ship when the rescuers came, instead of staying behind and tending to the welfare of the students entrusted in their care. Captain Joon-Seok was arrested after the accident on multiple charges to include negligence and abandoning ship. Over the weekend several more of the crew were arrested, bringing the total to seven.