Members of South Korean Navy's Ship Salvage Unit (front) on a rubber boat and a naval patrol ship patrol to rescue possible survivors from sunken naval ship Cheonan off Baengnyeongdo, an island near the border with DPRK, March 27, 2010. (Xinhua News) (Xinhua, Seoul) South Korea’s Navy and coastguard on Tuesday continued their rescue efforts to search for the missing sailors of a naval vessel that sank on Friday, but have yet to break into the sunken ship. Members of South Korean Navy's Ship Salvage Unit (front) on a rubber boat and a naval patrol ship patrol to rescue possible survivors from sunken naval ship Cheonan off Baengnyeongdo, an island near the border with DPRK, March 27, 2010. (Xinhua News)

(Xinhua, Seoul) South Korea’s Navy and coastguard on Tuesday continued their rescue efforts to search for the missing sailors of a naval vessel that sank on Friday, but have yet to break into the sunken ship.

 

It is believed that the incident is one of the biggest disasters in the country’s naval history, which left a 1,200-ton warship torn apart and submerged, while 46 out of 104 crew members are still missing despite continued search and rescue operations.

 

The Navy on Tuesday employed 154 divers, 16 naval ships, three coastguard vessels and 15 U.S. military divers in the search operation, trying to gain access into the sunken ship’s stern where most of the missing sailors were thought to be trapped.  

 

Military divers planned to drill holes to enter the wreckage, but senior officers said it would take much time to gain access.  

 

According to local media, the rescue operations faced difficulties due to extremely unfavorable meteorological and hydrological conditions. Three South Korean military divers fell unconscious due to the strong underwater pressure and currents, one of whom died after moved to a nearby U.S. rescue ship.  

 

The military released a video image of the frigate Cheonan as it went down on Friday night.

 

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