Seoul: South Korean military divers found the body of one of 46 sailors missing after their Navy ship sank eight days ago, officials said on Saturday, the first body recovered during the underwater search of the wreckage.
The body of Senior Chief Petty Officer Nam Ki-hoon was found in dayroom in the ship`s rear area, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
It said officials plan to take Nam`s body by helicopter to a military hospital near Seoul.
The 1,200-ton Navy ship Cheonan sank following an explosion late on March 26 during a routine patrol. Fifty-eight crew members, including the captain, were rescued soon after.
The vessel broke into two pieces after the explosion, the rear going down first and the front early on March 27. No cause has been determined for the blast and there has been no confirmation of North Korean involvement in the sinking, which occurred near the countries` disputed sea border.
With the discovery of the body, 45 sailors remained missing, and hopes of finding survivors appeared to be fading.
Separately, a funeral ceremony was held earlier in the day for a military diver who died on Tuesday during an attempt to reach sailors possibly trapped in the ship.