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S. Korea ends search for bodies, ferry's captain jailed

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S. Korea ends search for bodies, ferrys captain jailed
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Seoul: The South Korean government Tuesday called off search for nine people missing in the sinking of ferry "Sewol" while a court sentenced the ferry's captain to 36 years in jail for not carrying out his duty to save his passengers. More than 300 lives were lost in the mishap.

The South Korean government called off the seven-month-long search for the nine missing passengers while later in the day the district court in Gwangju sentenced Lee Joon-seok, 69, to 36 years in prison.

The court held Lee guilty of leading more than 300 people, mostly high school students, to death as he did nothing to rescue the passengers while the ship capsized and sank off the south-western coast of South Korea April 16.

Lee has been severely criticised for abandoning his passengers and being among the first to be rescued.

Critics said the casualties increased as crew members ordered passengers to stay put while the vessel was sharply tilting.

Prosecutors originally sought a death penalty for Lee on a charge of murder, but the court did not accept the plea.

Nine still remain missing, with 295 people confirmed dead.

The body of one female student was recovered Oct 28, 102 days after a body was found July 18.

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