As pope visits South Korea, anger over ferry sinking is still raw

SEOUL, South Korea - In South Korea, Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Friday before 50,000 people, urging them to reject materialism. One in 10 South Koreans is Catholic.

He also met privately with survivors of April's ferry disaster, and relatives of the 304 people who died. Most of the victims were teenagers on a school trip. The captain and 14 crew members are facing trial.

Anger about the ferry sinking still pours into the streets of Seoul. Protesters are pushing the government for answers about the country's worst maritime disaster.

A nearly five-hour drive south of the capital, preliminary hearings are underway as part of an investigation before the trials of the crew and ferry company.

Koh Yeong-hwan has made the journey to these hearings eight times. As painful as it is, he wants to know how and why his 16-year-old son, Koh Woo-jae, died.

He think his presence in the courtroom may make a difference.

"The crew members are in there," he said, speaking in Korean. "If they have a conscience, our presence will make them tell the truth."

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South Korean protesters take to the streets demanding answers about the ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people, most of them high school students.
CBS News

This week, the coast guard was questioned about the rescue effort.

"They call it a rescue?" Koh said. "The coast guard said they were never trained to go inside the ship. They were only trained to rescue people floating in the water."

The hearings have uncovered a long list of things that went wrong.

Survivors testified they were initially told not to evacuate.

Prosecutors allege the already top-heavy ferry was carrying so much cargo and it wasn't secured properly.

On top of that, prosecutors say, almost no money was spent on safety training.

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Preliminary hearings have uncovered a long list of things that went wrong in the ferry sinking.
CBS News

Koh says he hopes the captain will receive a death sentence.

"I don't know how long this will take," he said, his voice breaking, "but I have to got back to a normal life. I wonder if I can do that."

South Korea's president said she hoped the pope's visit would help the country "heal." Any sort of legal resolution may take a while, as trials will not begin until this fall.

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