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Hopes fade for missing South Korean sailors

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Hopes fade for missing South Korean sailors

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Hopes of finding any more survivors after the sinking of a South Korean warship are fading fast.

Forty six sailors remain unaccounted for despite a search of the waters around Baengnyeong Island by coastguard rescue craft and air force planes.

The lost ship’s captain Choi Won-il has spoken of the moment the vessel went down.

He told a news conference: “When I was planning the next day’s operation schedule in the captain’s cabin, the ship shifted to the right about 90 degrees and there was the sound of an explosion. At the same time, the generators and all communications and contacts were cut off.”

The 12,000 tonne “Cheonan” sank in bad weather during a routine patrol along the disputed maritime border between North and South Korea.

Relatives of the missing crew members – angered by a lack of official information about the incident – have clashed with guards at the naval headquarters outside Seoul.

A spokesman for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said there was no immediate indication of North Korean involvement in the sinking of the warship.