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. Brendan

    Um, ... what shooting incident??

    March 26, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rick

    This story makes no sense. It "is sinking" or it "sank", which one? At the end there is mention of "no further details about the shooting incident". This is about as clear as mud.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. paul

    explosion on the back of the ship.
    unidentifyed source said there was an engagement.
    National Security Committee of Korea has been summoned.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff Craig

    This "news" story is among the poorest examples of reporting I've seen (if you discount the leftist media's coverage of issues like healthcare reform, climate gate, and other issues they report with clear bias).

    There's little information in it. It also majorly contradicts itself when on the one hand it says "the cause of the accident was not immediately known" and on the other hand says "There were no further details about the shooting incident."

    If you're going to report something, first get your facts straight. Then make sure you have enough facts–and that the facts are relevant–to make it worthy of reporting.

    You might as well be reporting "The president is planning to meet with someone today to discuss something. There were no further details available about the president's plans." Is that news?

    March 26, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Art

    ...."...the shooting incident." WHAT?!?!? Shooting incident? The last sentance of this piece no-chalantly mentions a "shooting incident"? Don't you ninnies think that a tidbit of information like THAT is important to post? No mention of it any where else in the WHOLE piece. You guys demonstrate more and more about how inept you and your editors are. Here is the solution: REPORT on the shooting incident FIRST and THEN report that the ship is sunk or sinking (by the way....which is it?) You guys need to go back to high school.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nathan

    "There were no further details about the shooting incident."

    What shooting?

    Great editing there.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. pete C

    Commenst: you are talking about a ship sinking, you say the cause of the "accident" is not immediately known, and then you say there are no further details about the "shooting" incident.
    Don't you think that there is something wrong in your presentation? It appears that you should first say that there was a shooting incident. AND then go on with the story etc, as to why it occurred.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mikey

    Wonderful reporting..."shooting incident"? Nothing like some sensationalism to add some spice to a story. How about leaving it as just a sinking incident with cause unknown?

    March 26, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. I'm Korean people

    I'm not english but ,,,, nation emergency
    54people structure not bad,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    March 26, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. Reality

    Oh oh. This story may get scary pretty soon

    March 26, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ben Cox

    Do you people actually read these stories before posting them? This article makes no sense whatsoever. I think my third-grader could write a more coherent article than this.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Robert Anderson

    This would be a perfect exuse for the North to cause some sort of international soap opera scene. Let the conspiracy theories start..

    March 26, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. pete C

    correction, Comments

    March 26, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. paul

    a resident of the island said that gun-fires from the ship continued for over 20 minutes.

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

    Could someone please explain how the last sentence / paragraph ties in with the rest of this story? I see no mention anywhere previously that even remotely states or implies that any type of shooting was somehow involved. Did the reporter perhaps fail to completely erase the content of some previous story that they used as a template or starting point for this one?

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