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Prosecutors indicted the captain and three crew members of the sunken Sewol ferry on murder charges Thursday.
According to CNN, the captain, Lee Joon-seok, the chief engineer and the first and second mates were indicted on homicide charges and could face the death penalty if they are convicted. Prosecutors said that he remaining 11 crew members have been indicted on charges of alleged negligence, abandonment and violating the ship safety act.
The Associated Press reported that a court official noted that the indictment was filed in Gwangju District Court and a trial date will be decided in the coming days.
On April 16, the ferry was doing a transit from Incheon to the island of Jeju before it sank. More than 300 people aboard the Sewol were mostly high school students on a field trip. Joon-seok and his crew are accused of not protecting the passengers.
Investigators received information that the captain and his crew escaped using passages only accessible by the staff, while those on board were told to remain on the ship while it was sinking.
The bodies of 284 people were retrieved from the water, another 20 are still missing.