Beijing: At least seven remains of bodies believed to be that of Chinese naval personnel have been found from a warship sunk by the Japanese navy during Sino-Japanese War 121 years ago.
"We believe the remains belonged to officers and soldiers aboard the warship," said Zhou Chunshui, who leads the exploration mission organised by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
The Zhiyuan Warship, with a 50-meter-long hull, is located about 10 nautical miles southwest of Dandong Port in Northeast China.
More than 100 pieces of ship parts and belongings of the seamen have also been found, Zhou said.
"We will study those relics and try to find out what lives at sea were like more than a century ago," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.
Coded "Dandong No.1," the 1,600-tonne vessel was one of the four warships of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911) imperial naval forces - Beiyang Fleet - which was defeated in 1894 by the Japanese navy in the Battle of Yellow Sea.
A total of 252 officers and soldiers were aboard. Only seven survived.
The four ships stated to be China's most sophisticated vessels at that time, bigger and better armed than the Japanese ones but slower and short of ammunition, Xinhua said.
Zhou said further investigation is needed to decide whether to lift the ship, whose main structure has remained intact, out of the water.
History documents recorded that the ship captain Deng Shichang refused to abandon the ship after it was severely damaged earning him the reputation of patriot in China.