GWANGJU, South Korea, June 10 (UPI) -- The captain and crew members of a ferry that sank in April, leading to the deaths nearly 300 people, went on trial Tuesday in Gwangju, South Korea.
Fifteen people are charged with crimes ranging from homicide to negligence in the incident, in which the ferry Sewol sank off the southwestern coast of South Korea Apr. 16. Only 172 passengers, many of whom were children, of 476 people aboard were rescued; 12 remain missing. Officials claim the ship was overloaded and traveling too fast.
In court Tuesday, Captain Lee Joon-seok, 68, entered to cries of "murderer" from victims' relatives. He and three other senior crew members have been charged with homicide. Two others are charged with fleeing and abandoning the ship; nine others are accused of negligence.
The focus of the trial is expected to involve the crew's response. Meanwhile, anger still rages in South Korea over the incident, since the captain and all the crew survived.
Prosecutors note no life rafts, flotation devices or evacuation announcements were available to the passengers, and improperly secured cargo was among the reasons for the capsizing of the ship.