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Accidents

Head of Sewol ferry company arrested

South Korean prosecutors have detained the head of the maritime company that owns the sunken South Korean ferry, Sewol. He has been detained over allegations that he knew the ferry was overloaded.

Prosecutors said Kim Han-sik (pictured above), chief executive of Chonghaejin Marine Co., was taken into custody on Thursday and would be formally arraigned later in the day.

The charges stem from allegations that Kim was aware that the ferry exceeded its cargo limit but didn't do anything before it started its trip, according to senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin.

Initial investigations suggest the ferry was carrying up to three times its safe cargo capacity.

"I apologize to the victims and the families," he said to TV cameras as he was detained.

The captain of the Sewol ferry and 14 crew members have already been arrested along with four lower-ranking Chonghaejin Marine officials.

The ferry had 476 people on board when it sank April 16, but just 172 are listed as survivors. An additional 35 people are still considered missing, while 269 bodies have been recovered. Most of the passengers on board were high school students on a field trip to southern Jeju island.

hc/mz (dpa, AFP, AP)

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