April 22nd, 2014
12:47 PM ET

Crew Members Say They Couldn't Reach Lifeboats as Ferry Tipped Over

They slipped.

That's the explanation a crew member from the sunken ferry Sewol gave Tuesday for being unable to reach life rafts as the ship rolled over and began to sink.

Crew members made attempts to get to the lifeboats, the crew member said. "But we slipped so we could not do that."

The man was among four crew members who briefly answered reporters' questions outside a courtroom Tuesday following their arrest the day before on charges related to the disaster. The men appeared with their heads bowed and faces covered, making it unclear which of them was speaking.

They are among nine crew members facing charges, including the captain and two more who were arrested Tuesday.

So far, 121 people are confirmed dead and 181 remain missing nearly a week after the ferry sank, according to the South Korean Coast Guard.

The failure to deploy the lifeboats is one of a series of problems that beset those on board the sinking vessel last Wednesday.

A transcript of a radio conversation released by authorities over the weekend suggested that passengers on the ship couldn't reach lifeboats to escape because the ship tilted so quickly that it left many of them unable to move.

But the ship's captain and some crew members have come under heavy criticism, notably for the captain's decision to tell passengers to stay where they were.

In addition to the captain, two first helmsmen, one second helmsman, a third mate, the chief engineer, a technician and the two crew members arrested Tuesday face charges.

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April 21st, 2014
04:16 AM ET

Ferry Crew's Actions 'Akin to Murder'

 South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday likened the actions of the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry Sewol to murder, as police made more arrests and divers continued searching the submerged vessel.

The captain of the South Korean ship, Lee Joon-seok, is already facing a series of criminal charges for his role in last week's sinking, in which at least 64 people have died and 238 others remain missing. Many of them are students and teachers on a field trip from a high school near Seoul.

"The actions of the captain and some of the crew are absolutely unacceptable, unforgivable actions that are akin to murder," Park said Monday in comments released by her office. She said she and other South Koreans were filled with "rage and horror."

Her strong words come after more details emerged over the weekend about the chaos and confusion aboard the doomed ferry as the disaster unfolded in the cold waters of the Yellow Sea off South Korea's southwest coast.

A radio transcript released by authorities suggested that passengers on the ship couldn't reach lifeboats to escape because the ship tilted so quickly that it left many of them unable to move.

As the search goes on, the actions of the captain and crew remain under scrutiny.

The captain was not in the steering room when the accident took place, according to police and his own account.

He said he plotted the ship's course, and then went to his cabin briefly "to tend to something." It was then, the captain said, that the accident happened.

A crew member, described as the third mate and identified only as Park, appeared in handcuffs with Capt. Lee at the weekend.

The third mate said she did not make a sharp turn, but "the steering turned much more than usual."

The captain and the third mate both apologized to the bereaved families.

Park is facing charges including negligence and causing injuries leading to deaths, authorities said. A technician with the surname Cho is also facing the same charges, they said.

The captain was one those rescued soon after the Sewol began to sink, violating an "internationally recognized rule that a captain must stay on the vessel," maritime law attorney Jack Hickey said.

"Pretty much every law, rule, regulation and standard throughout the world says that yes, the captain must stay with the ship until all personnel are safely off of the ship, certainly passengers."

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December 16th, 2013
11:33 AM ET

Police Recordings Reveal Montana Newlywed's Lies

In a dramatic turn during her murder trial, newlywed Jordan Linn Graham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a plea deal and recounted how she pushed her new husband over a Montana cliff last summer.

"It was a reckless act," she told the judge who demanded the truth of what happened to Cody Johnson, her husband of eight days, in Glacier National Park in July.

"I just pushed," she stated.

The newlywed couple was arguing when he grabbed her and she told him, "Let go."

She thought he was going to hold her down. She put one hand on his back and another on his shoulder and then pushed him face-first to his death, she told the court.

And now, police recordings from two days after the man disappeared show just how her story changed.

Police: What's going on as far as where he might have gone or who he might be with?

Jordan: Well, I got a message that he was going to go for a ride with some of his out of town buddies that were visiting.

The next day, in an interview with detectives, she stood by her story but also said she got an email from someone named Tony who told her Cody was dead.

The email was traced back to a computer in Graham's parents' house. She sent it to herself.

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December 11th, 2013
10:15 AM ET

Jury Hears Montana Bride Lie About Husband's Fall Off Cliff

The defense and prosecution agree on this much: Jordan Linn Graham pushed her husband of eight days, and he fell off a cliff to his death in Glacier National Park in Montana.

In day two of the trial, the jury saw and heard Graham lying to police in two extensive taped interviews, CNN's Kyung Lah reports.

In the first video, Graham was matter of fact and unemotional as she told police that her husband Cody Johnson took off from home in a dark car with Washington plates.

Johnson had been missing for two days and police were searching for him.

The reality is Graham knew her new husband of just eight days was already dead at the bottom of a sheer cliff because she watched him fall.

The very next day, police videotaped Graham again.  She went to police because she received an email, dated July 10th, three days after her husband's death.

The email came from a mysterious friend named "Tony."  It reads, "Hello Jordan. my name is Tony. There is no bother in looking for Cody anymore. He is gone."

The email claims Johnson died during that car trip.

But Detective Cory Clarke knew something was fishy about Graham's story.

On the stand, Clarke said the email traced back to a computer at Graham's father's home and that it was a fake email created to support Graham's story to police.

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