UPDATE: 03-26-2010 06:30PM
Via Washington Post:
A South Korean naval ship sank near the disputed maritime border with North Korea, killing some of the more than 100 crew on board, but officials played down suggestions that it may have been attacked by the North.
A defense ministry official later said that the unidentified object the vessel had fired at on Friday night near the western sea border that divides the two Koreas may well have been a flock of birds.
ORIGINALLY POSTED 03-26-2010 10:28AM
From the AP:
South Korea’s military scrambled naval vessels to the 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.
The 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 the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.
He said the exact cause was not immediately clear. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported an explosion in the rear of the 1,200-ton ship, but the official said he could not confirm the report.
Minutes later, Yonhap reported that another South Korean ship fired shots toward an unidentified target in the direction of North Korea. The Joint Chiefs official said he could not confirm the shooting but said the military was strengthening its vigilance in the area.
Via the Washington Post:
South Korea’s YTN TV network said the government was investigating whether the sinking was due to a torpedo attack by the North, and Yonhap news agency said the Seoul government had convened an emergency meeting of security-related ministers.
Yonhap also reported a South Korean navy ship firing toward an unidentified vessel to the north.
Let’s hope this was an on-board accident and not a torpedo attack.