Court rules South Korea must compensate families in Sewol tragedy

The Sewol ferry accident occurred in April 2014.

(CNN)A South Korean court ruled Thursday the government is partially liable for the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry four years ago and must compensate families of the victims, according to news agencies.

The passenger ferry sank off the southwest coast of South Korea in April 2014. As the country watched live broadcasts in horror, 304 of the almost 500 passengers -- most of them high school students on a field trip to the holiday island of Jeju -- drowned.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported a Seoul court ruled the state is liable in part, and must compensate 200 million South Korean won (US$177,000) to the families of each victim, and an additional 40 million won (about $35,200) to the parents of every student who lost their lives.
Family members lodged the suit in September 2015, asking the court to determine "state liability for the cause, lax handling and outcome" of the accident, Yonhap reported.