Body of missing sailors of S.Korean warship found

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The first body of 46 missing sailors of a South Korean warship that sank on March 26 was found on Saturday, South Korea's military officials were quoted by local media as saying.

The body of Senior Chief Petty Officer Nam Ki-hoon was found at around 18:10 local time inside the mess hall in the stern of the 1, 200-ton Navy vessel "Cheonan" that sank on March 26 off the South Korean island of Baekryeongdo off the west coast due to an unexplained explosion, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency said.

Military officials said more bodies are expected to be recovered from the vessel's wreckage as search operations continue.

There were a total of 104 crew members on board when the vessel went down, but only 58 of them were rescued, and others remain missing.

Divers have struggled with bad weather and unfavorable meteorological and hydrological conditions to search the missing sailors during the past week, one of them died on Tuesday after fell unconscious due to the strong underwater pressure and currents.

Meanwhile, family members of the other missing sailors asked the Navy to stop all search and rescue operations, as there are dim chances that their loved ones can survive.

They made the difficult decision several hours after hearing the confirmation of Nam's death, according to Yonhap.

The families requested the military to halt the search and rescue operations from Sunday, considering the dangerous situation faced by divers, and asked to begin work to salvage the wreckage, which will need more than one month.

The military said the exact cause of the warship sinking only can be determined after it is salvaged out of the water.

The incident is believed as one of the biggest disasters in the country's naval history.


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