March 26th, 2010
08:08 PM ET

Report: South Korean navy ship has sunk near N. Korea

[Updated, 8:07 p.m.] Read the full CNN.com story

[Updated at 1:07 p.m.] The Yonhap News Agency is reporting that the South Korean navy ship has sunk, according to government officials.

[Updated at 12:26 a.m.] South Korea's president has told his military to focus on rescuing sailors from one of their navy ships sinking in the Yellow Sea near North Korea, aids told the Yonhap News Agency.

Yonhap reported 58 sailors had already been rescued. Navy vessels and helicopters were rescuing crew members, some of whom reportedly jumped into the sea after the blast, an official told South Korea's Korean Broadcasting System. The ship, the Cheonan, was patrolling southwest of the island around 9:45 p.m. when the explosion took place, a military official told KBS.

The official said the Sockcho, another South Korean navy vessel patrolling nearby, fired at unidentified ships north of the area. U.S. military officials told CNN a South Korean vessel has sunk.

The South Korean government issued a statement saying the reason for the incident remains unclear.

"For now, it is not certain whether North Korea is related" to the incident, South Korean spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye told Yonhap.

While the rescues continue, officials were holding an emergency meeting of ministers handling security-related matters, but the focus remained on rescuing South Koreans on the ship, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

"Finding the truth [behind the incident] is important, but saving our soldiers is more important," the president was quoted as saying, according to Yonhap.

North Korea has said recently it is bulking up its defenses in response to recent joint South Korean-U.S. military drills, Yonhap reported. The news agency also quoted South Korean military officials saying North Korea conducted dozens of artillery firing drills Friday.

[Posted at 11:01 a.m.] A South Korean navy ship was sinking in the Yellow Sea near North Korea early Saturday, and the navy was shooting at an unidentified ship toward the north, Yonhap News Agency reported.

It was initially unclear whether the two incidents were related.

Yonhap quoted Navy officials saying Friday that a ship carrying 104 crew members was sinking off the Seoul-controlled island of Baengnyeong.

The 1,500-ton ship was sinking between 9 and 10 p.m. near the island, but the cause of the incident was not immediately known, officials said.

A rescue operation was under way. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but some sort of explosion occurred in the rear of the ship,  officials told Yonhap.

As a result of the report, South Korean government officials held an emergency meeting of ministers handling security-related matters, officials told the news agency.

There were no further details about the reported shooting.

soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. David Byrne

    Comments are moderated?? Surely this is censorship...something which news organisations traditionally speaking are against!!

    March 26, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. south korean

    I'm a s,korean citizen.
    While watching tv there was a breaking news that
    the ship was sinking.
    There's a rumor that North korea had shot our ship.
    S,koreans are worrying about this situation which can
    lead to war.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. Davies

    Abandon ship!!!

    March 26, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. pwj

    i'm korean and 1500ton ship sank

    the news say it could be a torpedo attack by NK

    until now 24 crews are rescued.

    people on the island heard loud noises for about 15 minutes around 11.

    some news say the navy attacked an unidentified north korean half submarine(i dunno what it is in english)

    March 26, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. John

    I read from a Korean news that the ship was sunk by North Korean torpedo.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    cause of the accident not known

    no further details about the shootig incident....

    if I put two and two together...hmmmm

    March 26, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. KurtF

    I bet they hit a North Korean mine.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. Matt Kettner

    How does this article get posted as it is written? First, the ship is sinking, with people on board, then it sank, then it was an accident, then it was a shooting incident? I expect a major news organization like CNN to have high standards for posting news – this is certainly not meeting any high standards.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Cool story bro!

    March 26, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. MikeinOrlando

    Well sorry to hear that but look on the bright side now. Ue the ship as a underwater explorer now. 🙂

    March 26, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ralph

    Didn't know Toy-ota built warships!

    March 26, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. john

    what shooting incident?

    March 26, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. SWoong

    no, Ship's 1,200-ton.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kriegspiel

    In one line you say cause is unknown and later you say "shooting incident". There is a big difference between a ship sinking for undetermined causes and a shooting incident. If you are not sure about something suggest you don't put it in until you confirm it.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gage

    This is seriously bad reporting.

    Which Navy officials. U.S.? North Korean? South Korean?

    Is it an accident or a shooting incident.

    At least proof read your releases.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
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