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A crew member on the sunken South Korean ferry said on Thursday she and her colleagues were "under command" to abandon ship while passengers were trapped on board.

The unidentified crew member spoke briefly to reporters on the way from court back into detention. She was wearing a surgical mask and a baseball cap with a jacket hood.

Investigations are focused on human error and mechanical failure, but authorities have expressed anger at the actions of the crew, most of whom survived after abandoning the Sewol while passengers were still on board.

Hundred of passengers died after being told to stay in place rather than escaping the ship.

South Korea's president Park Geun-hye on Monday accused the captain and crew of the country's sunken ferry of "unforgivable, murderous behavior."

More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from the same school, are dead or missing presumed dead in the April 16 disaster. As the ferry began sinking, the crew told the children to stay in their cabins.

- Reuters