The captain of the ferry that sank in South Korea on Wednesday has been arrested, the country’s Yonhap news agency says. Hundreds of passengers are still missing, many are feared dead.
Filmed after being rescued from the ship early, Captain Lee Joon-seok faces several charges including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law.
Investigators claim the 69-year-old was not on the bridge when the ferry started to list sharply, saying a junior officer was at the wheel.
The order to evacuate the boat and its subsequent handling also remain a major focus of inquiry.
One of the Ferry’s crew members, Park Kyoung-nam, said: “The order (from the captain to evacuate the ferry) could not be conveyed to the passengers. But the order was made. What is announced through the speakers in the captain’s cabin cannot really be heard in the wheelhouse because they have different microphone systems.”
For families staying in Jindo Island, hopes of finding loved ones alive are fading fast. 274 passengers, mostly younger teenagers, are still missing. Only 29 people have officially been declared dead. That figure also includes the vice-principle of the school where many of the unaccounted students are from. He was found dead on Friday after reportedly committing suicide.
A major search and rescue operation is ongoing with air being pumped into the vessel to help those trapped inside. Cranes have also arrived to try to move the ferry, which is no longer above water.