sponsored by

SKorea says sailor's body found; 45 still missing

Send a link to a friend

[April 20, 2010]  SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korean military divers found the body of one of 46 sailors missing after their navy ship sank eight days ago, officials said Saturday, the first body recovered during the underwater search of the wreckage.

The body of Senior Chief Petty Officer Nam Ki-hoon was found near in what is presumed to be the mess hall in the ship's rear area, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

It said officials plan to take Nam's body by helicopter to a military hospital near Seoul.

With the discovery of the body, 45 sailors remained missing, and hopes of finding survivors appeared to be fading.

Divers planned to resume the search later Saturday. The JCS said divers can plunge into waters only four times a day when currents are slow and waves weak, and they can stay underwater about 20 minutes each time.

The 1,200-ton navy ship Cheonan sank following an explosion late on March 26 during a routine patrol. Fifty-eight crew members, including the captain, were rescued soon after.

The vessel broke into two pieces after the explosion, the rear going down first and the front early on March 27. No cause has been determined for the blast and, despite some speculation, there has been no confirmation of North Korean involvement in the sinking, which occurred near the countries' disputed sea border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula.

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young has said that a floating mine dispatched from North Korea was one possible explanation for the blast on the Cheonan. A mine left over from the 1950-53 Korean War may also have struck the ship, he said.

Officials say the cause of the explosion can only be determined after the sunken ship is recovered.

[to top of second column]

Separately, a funeral ceremony was held Saturday for a military diver who died during an attempt earlier in the week to reach sailors possibly trapped in the ship.

Also, the coast guard found the bodies of two of nine fishermen whose boat disappeared as it sailed toward fishing grounds after helping search for debris and possible survivors from the sinking of the Cheonan.

The bodies of one South Korean and one Indonesian fishermen were discovered after contact was lost with the boat late Friday, said coast guard official Lee Kyo-min. The search was continuing for six other South Korean crew members of the fishing boat as well as another Indonesian.

[Associated Press; By KWANG-TAE KIM]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor