March 31st, 2010
07:55 AM ET

Bad weather halts South Korean search for sailors

The South Korean military suspended its search for missing sailors Wednesday because of high winds spawned by stormy weather, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Searchers have been looking for 46 missing sailors from the 1,200-ton ship Cheonan, a naval ship that sank Friday in the Yellow Sea near the maritime border of North and South Korea.

Fifty-eight crew members were rescued, and the intense search led to the death of a military diver and the hospitalization of two others.

Yonhap reported that divers have injected "air through a crack in the stem of the 88-meter-long corvette, hopeful that the latter section of the ship, about 45 meters underwater, is holding crew members alive."

But high winds and strong currents have been working against the rescue effort.

"We are temporarily suspending operations. We cannot expect to get near the ship in this condition," defense ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae told  reporters.

Military officials say an explosion tore a hole in the rear of the ship, but the cause of the blast is not known.

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