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Trial Starts for Captain and Crew of Sunken South Korean Ferry

Wed, 11 Jun 2014 09:37:48 +0000

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Prosecutors have submitted 1,900 pieces of evidence in the trial of Captain Lee Jun-seok and 14 crew members of the South Korea ferry Sewol that sank in mid-April.

Lee and the crew face various counts, including murder and negligence, for allegedly abandoning ship and leaving as many as 304 people to drown.

The trial, which got underway Tuesday in the city of Gwangju, was punctuated by the angry cries of family members, who frequently interrupted the proceedings by shouting at the defendants.

The Sewol was carrying 475 people when it suddenly tilted to one side. Most of the victims were high school students on a field trip on April 16.

Lee and the crew members were accused of telling the passengers to stay put while they safely got off the vessel. About 170 people managed to be rescued before the Sewol sank.

Defense attorneys say the ferry operator, Chonghaejin Marine Company, is to blame for the tragedy by overloading the ferry and failing to lash the cargo properly. Meanwhile, the South Korea Coast Guard has also taken heat for allegedly bungling the rescue effort.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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