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‘Ship Sank 30 Minutes After Rescue Work Began’

Posted March. 31, 2010 14:56,   


The captain of a Korea Coast Guard patrol boat who helped rescue crew members from the South Korean naval ship Cheonan said yesterday that the vessel sank 30 minutes after rescue work began.

Goh Yeong-jae said, “When I arrived at the site around 10:15 p.m. Friday, I couldn’t see the stern since the ship tilted to the right by about 90 degrees and two thirds of the ship submerged.”

“Crew members were waiting to be rescued at the cupola and the pilot house.”

He added, “Half an hour after rescue operations began, the Cheonan started sinking, leaving little space for crew members to stand at the ship’s head. All crew members, however, were calm and boarded rubber boats in an orderly manner.”

On the condition of crew members, Goh said, “Most of them were in uniform or training suits. Some were wearing life jackets but didn’t get wet,” adding, “They said and asked for nothing.”

“Those rescued boarded our boat and stayed at a dining hall and officers’ quarters. Injured soldiers got treatment, with some being set in splints.”

Goh added, “Rescued crew members including Cheonan Captain Choi Won-il stayed on our boat for 40 minutes and were sent abroad four naval speedboats at 12:20 a.m. Saturday.”

On media reports that the rescue work ended when a crew member said “I am the last,” Goh said, “Captain Choi didn’t say there were no more survivors on the ship, and search operations continued through 2:30 a.m. Saturday along with the Navy.”

Kim Nam-oh, the Coast Guard patrol ship’s boatswain who accompanied Goh, told reporters, “I saw rescued crew members shed tears over fellow crew members who were not rescued.”