The captain of the South Korean ferry that sank in April, resulting in the death of over 300 individuals who were mostly students, has been sentenced to 36 years in prison after being found guilty if gross negligence.
Lee Joon-seok, the captain, was one of 15 crew members who faced trial over the incident, which has been described as “one of South Korea’s worst maritime disasters,” BBC reports.
Prosecutors had earlier charged him with homicide, and petitioned for the death sentence. However, he was acquitted on that charge.
The chief engineer of the Ferry, Park, was found guilty of murder, and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In addition, the thirteen other members of the crew were given prison sentences of up to 20 years, after being found guilty of charges such as abandonment and violation of maritime law.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the public was outraged when video footage was released, showing captain Joon-Seok fleeing the ship, as the ship was sinking and passengers were trapped inside the ferry. It was also discovered that crew members failed to secure cargo which had moved when the vessel took a tight turn. Their failure to do this is said to have caused the ferry to sink.
Photo Credit: AFP/BBC