The captain of the ferry that sank in the waters of South Korea in April has been found guilty of gross negligence and sentenced to 36 years in prison.

The Sewol ferry became one of South Korea’s worst maritime disasters after it capsized at 09:00 on 16 April about 20km off the island of Byungpoong carrying 476 people.

More than 300 people died in the accident, mostly school children.

Captain Lee Joon-seok was acquitted of homicide, which would have carried the death penalty, as he was negligent but did not have the intention to kill, but was found guilty of gross negligence.

During the trial, Lee apologised to the families of victims for abandoning the ship while passengers were still on board.

Fourteen other crew members are also on trial over the sinking of the Sewol as they did not secure cargo on board the vessel, which caused the it to capsize when turning a tight corner.

Earlier, South Korean authorities announced that the underwater search effort to find the bodies of lost souls from the Sewol had come to an end.

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