Speed Reads

south korea ferry disaster

South Korean president lashes out at ferry captain's 'murderous behavior'


On Monday, South Korea's president blasted the actions of the captain and crew of the ferry that sank last Wednesday for committing "unforgivable, murderous behavior." The captain, 68-year-old Lee Joon-seok, is being heavily criticized for telling passengers to stay in their rooms as the ferry started sinking and allegedly waiting a half hour before issuing evacuation orders. The disaster left more than 300 people, mostly teenagers on a school trip, missing or dead.

"What the captain and part of the crew did is unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense, unforgivable, murderous behavior," said President Park Geun-hye at a briefing. She denounced Lee's decision to ignore marine traffic controllers' instructions to help passengers escape as he and some of the crew became among the first to be rescued from the doomed vessel. "Legally and ethically," she said, "this is an unimaginable act."

The president's comments came while Lee and two crew members are under arrest for suspicion of negligence. An additional four crew members were detained Monday.