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Eight Researchers Missing in Antarctica

Posted December. 08, 2003 22:32,   


Eight research workers, dispatched to King Sejong Station in Antarctica, are missing due to inclement weather conditions on December 6 and 7, the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) disclosed on Monday.

The office said that these eight workers are currently out of contact so it is hard to confirm whether or not they are alive. King Sejong Station, with the assistance of other foreign science stations including Russia and Chile, is trying to tracking down their location.

The missing peoples are: Kang Chun-yoon (chief researcher), Chun Jae-kyu, Kim Jung-han, Jung woong-sik (researchers), Choi Nam-yeol (machinery manager), Jin Joon (technician), Kim Hong-gwi (heavy equipment engineer), Hwang Kyu-hyun (medical supporter).

According to OPM, the missing people departed from King George Island, the location of the station, in order to send 24 research workers back home and went over to the Chile Station, where an airstrip is prepared for flights. They broke up into two groups and rode two separate motor-propelled rubber rafts to reach the airstrip. After dropping off the workers at the Chile Station, the first raft safely made its way back to King George Island, but the second one, because of the high winds and long tidal, went astray from the normal route and has been out of touch so far.

According to this incident, King Sejong Station, on December 7, sent a rescue team with five workers to track down the missing raft, but they also lost their way, losing touch in one and a half hours after setting out, leaving the last transmission of “As weather conditions have become worse, the raft has capsized…”

King Sejong Station is managed by the Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI), which is one of the branches of OPM. The station is currently going through the process of switching researchers.

“The workers in charge of passing the winter was scheduled to come back home by plane through Chile,” remarked a source from OPM, adding, “These 24 workers arrived safely at the Chile airstrip, but the other workers who guided them to the airstrip faced with the incident.”

Jong-Hoon Lee Seung-Ryun Kim taylor55@donga.com srkim@donga.com