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Three Missing from Antarctica Found Alive

Posted December. 09, 2003 22:47,   


Three Korean researchers, whose fates were unknown as of early Tuesday morning after being missing in Antarctica over the weekend, were finally rescued. With this discovery, seven of the original eight missing researchers have been found alive, except for 27-year-old Jeon Jae-kyu, who was confirmed dead on Monday.

As the rescue operation has completed, the government plans follow-up measures such as inspecting the entire facility in order to quickly normalize operations at South Korea’s Sejong Station in Antarctica.

Kang Chun-yun, a 39-year-old chief of researchers, Kim Jung-han, a 27-year-old researcher, and Choi Nam-yul, a 37-year-old engineer became missing last Saturday (local time), but were fortunately rescued by Chilean helicopters at Nelson Island situated in front of King George Island as of 8:20 p.m. Monday (8:20 a.m. Tuesday, Seoul time), said the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI) and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The three missing people were rescued 24 hours later since they last contacted the base, saying all were safe. They had been reported missing 51 hours before they were found alive on Tuesday.

The six scientists were returning from a Chilean base in two rubber boats after sending off 24 colleagues, who were heading home from a nearby airstrip after a year of service there. The missing group was in the second boat.

The next day, a rescue team of five members headed out in search of their missing colleagues, but the rescuers were also lost within an hour. The five were found on Monday, with four alive and one dead. The four rescued victims are Cheong Woong-shik, Jin Jun, Kim Hong-kwi, Hwang Kyu-huyn, and the deceased is the researcher Jeon.

The KORDI, which is in charge of the Sejong Station in Antarctica, prepared the mortuary for the deceased researcher at the scientific research center at Kyung-ki province on Tuesday morning (Seoul time). His body, which was moved to the nearby airstrip, will arrive in South Korea as early as Friday via the United States.

The government convened a meeting to cope with the disaster in the central government building on Tuesday, reviewing to award a medal to the deceased person.

In addition, the government was committed to securing safer boats as soon as possible to prevent an accident like this from happening again which was partly caused by the rubber boats. The security system, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) and sound wave detectors, will be modernized as well.

President Roh Moo-hyun called the Sejong base this morning, saying that he felt regret about the tragedy of the researcher Jeon. He also consoled the remaining researchers there.