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South Korea: 'Murderer' cries as ferry crew attend court

Family members of passengers aboard the sunken ferry Sewol struggle with a security officer. Credit: Reuters

Fifteen crew of a South Korean ferry that sank in April killing more than 300 people, most of them children, have gone on trial on charges ranging from negligence to murder.

Cries of "murderer" were heard as the captain entered the court.

Captain Lee Joon-seok, 68, and three senior crew members were charged with homicide, facing a maximum sentence of death. Two were charged with fleeing and abandoning ship that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Nine were charged with negligence, which can also carry jail terms.

Emotions ran high in court as family members appeared to have already convicted the crew who were caught on video allegedly abandoning ship while the passengers, obeying orders, waited in their cabins for further instructions.

More: South Korea's president vows to disband coastguard

South Korea's president vows to disband coastguard

South Korea's president announced the country's coastguard will be disbanded, in a televised apology and speech.

Read: South Korean president to issue public apology

South Korea's president bowed deeply before her emotional statement and apology. Credit: AP Photos.

Park Geun-hye said the rescue operations after the April 16 disaster a failure, and she would push for legislation that would transfer the coastguard's responsibilities to the National Police Agency and a new government body she plans to establish.

More than a month after the sinking, 286 bodies have been retrieved but 18 others are still missing. Some 172 people, including 22 of the ship's 29 crew members, survived.

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S. Korea president to 'issue apology' over ferry deaths

The president of South Korea Park Geun-hye is to make a televised speech this week apologising to the families of the 286 victims killed in the Sewol ferry disaster, her office has said.

President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye Credit: AA / TT/TT News Agency/Press Association Images

According to state news agency Yonhap, the South Korean president will make a public apology to the nation on Monday morning, a month after the disaster occurred.

She is due to reveal plans to overhaul the national security system and government bureaucracy, and revamp the emergency management system, officials told the news agency.

Read: Four crew members of capsized Korean ferry charged

Prosecutors indict four crew members of sunken ferry

South Korean prosecutors indicted four crew members of a ferry that capsized in April killing more than 280 passengers for manslaughter, a senior prosecutor said today.

The death toll from the sunken South Korea ferry has risen to 259. Credit: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The prosecution also indicted all 11 other surviving crew members of the Sewol for negligence.

The crew has been under criminal investigations after they were believed to have escaped the sinking vessel before many of the passengers.

More: Death toll from sunken South Korea ferry rises to 259

Civilian diver died at hospital after 'losing consciousness'

A man stands in front of an altar dedicated to the missing and dead passengers on board the capsized Sewol ferry. Credit: Reuters\Kim Kyung-Hoon

A civilian involved in the search for dozens of missing people from a South Korean ferry disaster has died, after falling unconscious during a dive. He later died in hospital, authorities said.

According to other task force team officials, the 53-year-old diver was pulled to the surface by fellow divers after losing communication spokesman Ko Myung-seok said.

More: President accepts PM resignation over ferry tragedy

Diver dies during search for missing from sunken ferry

A diver searching for bodies on board the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol has died, according to South Korean state media.

More: South Korea's prime minister resigns over ferry disaster

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Death toll from sunken South Korea ferry rises to 259

Eleven more bodies were retrieved from the ferry that sunk off the coast of South Korean bringing the confirmed death toll to 259 and the number of those missing to 43, South Korean news agency Yonhap has reported.

More: South Korea's prime minister resigns over ferry disaster

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