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S Korea inquiry looks at captain
18 Apr 2014 22:10
South Korean prosecutors are seeking arrest warrants for the captain and two crew members of the ferry that capsized Wednesday, a coastguard official said.
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The accident appears to have claimed the lives of hundreds of passengers, many of them schoolchildren.
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So far, 28 of the 475 passengers and crew on the Sewol ferry have been officially declared dead and 179 have been rescued.
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Experts say it is now unlikely that any of the 268 missing passengers, many of them children from a school on the outskirts of the capital Seoul, will be found alive.
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"The joint investigation team of police and prosecutors asked for warrants to arrest three crew, including the captain," the official in the southern coastguard headquarters in Mokpo said.
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The request was submitted to the local court, he said, while adding that he was unaware of the precise charges.
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The captain and most of his 28 crew managed to escape the ferry, and have been criticised for abandoning the ship when so many were still trapped on board.
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Tracking data from the Maritime Ministry showed the ferry made a sharp turn just before sending its first distress signal on Wednesday morning.
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Some experts believe such a tight turn could have dislodged the heavy cargo manifest, including more than 150 vehicles, and destabilised the vessel, causing it to list heavily and then capsize.
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But others suggested the turn might have been caused by a collision with a rock or other submerged object.
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