South Korean President: Ferry Crew's Conduct Like 'Murder'

South Korean President Park Geun-hye vowed the ferry's crew would be held "criminally responsible" for abandoning the sinking ship.

South Korean President: Ferry Crew's Conduct Like 'Murder'
The New York Times / Woohae Cho

With the death toll in South Korea's ferry disaster now at 64, harsh words from the country's president. 

"Above all the conduct of the captain and crew members is unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense, and it was like an act of murder. That cannot and should not be tolerated." (Via Al Jazeera

Over the weekend, the South Korean coast guard has released a transcript of communication between traffic officials and crew. It suggested the passengers — who had been told to stay below deck, became trapped because the ferry had tilted too quickly. (Via CNN

The crew had initially told passengers to stay put, but this video showed the captain and other crew members were among the first rescued. At the wheel was the ship’s relatively inexperienced third mate reportedly navigating the dangerous stretch of water for the first time. (Via NTD-TV)

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the ship's crew unnecessarily delayed the evacuation and everyone responsible for the tragedy should be held "criminally accountable." 

Police made four more arrests Monday, bringing the total number of crew members in custody to seven. (Via  Arirang) 

And while the captain has apologized: “I am really sorry. I am deeply ashamed. I cannot put it into words.” (Via BBC)

He's defended his decision to delay the ferry’s evacuation due to a lack of rescue boats in the area and rough sea conditions.

The captain has been charged with abandoning his boat, negligence, causing bodily injury, and violating what’s known as “seamen’s law” mandating a captain must stay with his ship. (Via ITN

The death toll had risen to 64 Monday after divers found more bodies from inside the wreckage. More than 230 people, most of them high school students, remain missing and presumed dead. (Via Euronews)

The tragedy, meanwhile, has left an entire nation in mourning. According to Channel News Asia, TV shows and concerts have been canceled and political campaigns put on hold.   

According to local media, the day after the ferry sank, South Korean company Samsung sent out a memo asking its employees to refrain from activities like golf and drinking out of respect for the deceased.