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'Murder,' South Korean Leader Says Of Ferry Captain's Actions

A prayer for the missing and dead: Family members and friends have gathered in the port city of Jindo, South Korea, as the search continues for the scores of passengers still missing after last Wednesday's ferry disaster. At the water's edge, many are offering prayers — including this woman.
Issei Kato
/
Reuters/Landov
A prayer for the missing and dead: Family members and friends have gathered in the port city of Jindo, South Korea, as the search continues for the scores of passengers still missing after last Wednesday's ferry disaster. At the water's edge, many are offering prayers — including this woman.

"The conduct of the captain and some crew members is wholly unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense, and it was like an act of murder that cannot and should not be tolerated."

Yonhap News says that was the word Monday from South Korean President Park Geun-hye as she spoke with senior aides about last week's ferry disaster, which is feared to have killed about 300 people — most of them high school students who were on a trip to a popular resort island.

CNN has a slightly different version of the president's words, though they convey the same message:

According to Yonhap News, Park condemned Captain Lee Jun-seok for not moving more quickly to evacuate the 476 or so people who were on board and for being among the first who were able to get to safety:

As we reported Sunday, a transcript of the conversations between the ferry's crew and local maritime authorities shows there was considerable confusion last Wednesday when something caused the ship to start listing. Within two hours, it had capsized and begun sinking.

Among Monday's other developments:

-- "Sixty-four people have been confirmed dead while 238 others are still unaccounted," Yonhap News writes.

-- "Divers are retrieving the bodies at a faster pace," Reuters reports. Parents who have gathered in the port city of Jindo have "moved from [a] gymnasium to the pier to await news."

-- Seven members of the crew, including the captain, are now under arrest, according to The Washington Post and other news outlets.

-- On Morning Edition, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reported about how a family's grief was compounded by human error when they were told of one girl's death — only to be shown a body that wasn't hers.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.