GWANGJU, South Korea- Relatives of the victims of South Korea’s ferry disaster wept amid angry scenes in court Tuesday as prosecutors played video footage of the sinking vessel during the murder trial of the captain and crew.
The video, taken from coastguard boats and helicopters, showed the last moments of the 6,825-tonne Sewol ferry as it listed and then capsized on April 16 with the loss of around 300 lives.
Among the dead were some 250 students from the same high school in Ansan city just south of Seoul.
Dozens of family members were in the courtroom in the southern city of Gwangju and many wept openly at the scenes of passengers desperately trying to escape the ship.
They also jeered and shouted in anger at the 15 defendants when the video showed close-up shots of the captain and some crew members jumping from the sinking ferry into a rescue boat.
Captain Lee Joon-Seok and three senior crew members are accused of “homicide through willful negligence” — a charge that can carry the death penalty.
The 11 other crew are being tried on lesser violations of maritime law.
The bulk of the charges arise from the fact that Lee and the others chose to abandon the ferry while hundreds of people were still trapped inside.
They were also condemned for ordering the passengers to remain where they were when the ship began listing.