South Korean Navy patrol boat sinks in Yellow Sea
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.
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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