South Korea scrambled naval vessels to western waters near the disputed maritime border with North Korea late Friday after an explosion ripped a hole in the bottom of a military ship, officials and news reports said.
South Korea’s YTN TV network said the government, which met in emergency session in an underground bunker after the incident, was investigating whether the sinking was due to a torpedo attack by the North.
The 1,200-ton ship — reported to have 104 crew on board — began sinking off the coast of South Korean-controlled Baengnyeong Island close to North Korea around 10:45 p.m. (1345 GMT, 9:45 a.m. EDT), an official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.
Update: The ship is the PCC-772 Cheonan, a Pohang class corvette.
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