A news report says that a South Korean district court has handed a sentence of 36 years in prison to the captain of a ferry that sank in April, killing more than 300 people.

Yonhap news agency cited the Gwangju District Court on Tuesday.

The court in southern South Korea couldn't immediately confirm the report.

The sentences of three other key crew members weren't immediate clear.

The four crew members were indicted on homicide and other charges. Prosecutors say their negligence and abandonment of passengers caused the deaths.

Most of the dead were teenage students traveling to a southern island for a school trip.

The captain has apologized for abandoning the passengers but has said he didn't know his actions would lead to so many deaths.