A news report says South Korean prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for the captain of a ferry that sank in April, killing more than 300 people.

Yonhap news agency says prosecutors on Monday also requested that a district court issue life sentences to three other key crew members tasked with navigating the ship on charges that they were negligent and failed to protect passengers when the ferry was sinking April 16.

The four were among the first group of people rescued when the ferry began badly listing.

The Gwangju District Court said it couldn't immediately confirm the report.

The sinking, one of South Korea's deadliest disasters, caused nationwide grief and fury, with authorities blaming overloading of cargo, improper storage, untimely rescue efforts and other negligence for the incident.