South Korean Navy patrol boat sinks in Yellow Sea

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South Korean Navy patrol boat sinks in Yellow Sea


(서울=연합뉴스) 26일 오후 9시45분께 서해 백령도 서남방 해상에서 경비 활동 중 선체 아래쪽에 구멍이 뚫린 것으로 알려진 우리 해군 초계함 천안함(1천200t급)이 선미 쪽부터 침몰 중인 것으로 알려졌다. 사진은 포항급 초계함의 14번째 함인 PCC-772 천안함의 항해 모습

As helicopters and nearby boats scrambled to effect a rescue operation, a South Korean Navy patrol boat sank near the inter-Korean border in the Yellow Sea on Friday night, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

As the ship sank, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Navy fired toward the north after radar disclosed an unidentified objection in that direction at the time of the accident.


One hundred and five crew members were aboard the 1,200-ton Patrol Combat Corvette Cheonan, and 58 of them had been rescued as of 1 a.m. Saturday, military sources said. No immediate information was available about their condition or about the other men.

According to the military’s press release, the bottom of the strip was destroyed by an unidentified cause while it was on a patrol mission in the waters near the Baeknyeong Island around 9:45 p.m. A Navy source who asked for anonymity told the JoongAng Ilbo “there’s a very low possible that a Patrol Combat Corvette would sink due to internal explosion,” and “We should not rule out the possibility that it may be a North Korean attack.”

President Lee Myung-bak immediately called an emergency meeting of his security ministers, presidential aides and the head of the National Intelligence Service at the underground bunker of the Blue House around 10 p.m.

“The cause of the sinking was not immediately identified,” Kim Eun-hye, Blue House spokeswoman, told the YTN around midnight. “It is unclear whether the incident is linked with North Korea at this point.”

According to Kim, President Lee ordered the government and military to do their best to rescue the crew members and quickly determine the cause of the sinking.

The Cheonan was operationally deployed in 1989, and the Navy operates about 20 ships of the same class.

By Ser Myo-ja
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`함정 선미에 구멍..북측 공격받았을 가능성`

합동참모부는 26일 오후 9시45분께 서해 백령도 서남방 해상에서 경비 중이던 우리 해군 초계함 천암함이 선미쪽에 원인 미상의 폭발로 인해 침수 중이라고 밝혔다.

1200톤급 해군 초계함에는 승조원 104명이 탑승하고 있으며, 상당수가 폭발 당시 바다로 뛰어내려 인명 피해 발생이 우려되고 있다.

인근 해상에 있던 해군 소속 PK(100톤급) 함정 1척과 해경 함정 2척(1002함, 501함)이 출동해 사고 함정의 장병을 구조하고 있으며 12시 현재 58명을 구조한 것으로 알려졌다.

군 소식통은 "천안함이 선체 뒤쪽 스크루 부분에 구멍이 뚫려 침몰 중이며 공격받았을 가능성도 제기되고 있다"면서 "당시 인근에 있던 초계함 속초함에서 북쪽의 미상 타킷을 76mm 함포로 엄호사격을 한 것으로 안다"고 밝혔다.

그는 "선미 쪽이 폭발해 구멍이 났다는 것은 북한의 어뢰정 등에 의한 공격 가능성일 수 있다면서 현재는 인명 구조에 최우선으로 나서고 있기 때문에 정확한 폭발 원인은 확인되지 않고 있다"고 말했다.

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