A week-long search for dozens of sailors lost when a South Korean warship sunk in waters close to North Korea was called off late Saturday after a request from the families of the missing men.
A representative of the families told TV reporters Saturday evening that they asked the navy to halt rescue operations, and concentrate instead on raising the sunken hull of the corvette Cheonan.
"We accepted the family's request and stopped searching for those missing under water last night," a military official told CNN. "We will start operations to lift the ship from the coming week."
Although naval experts quoted in Korean media have stated that men trapped underwater could only remain alive for 60 to 70 hours, many hoped that some sailors might somehow still be alive.