`Suicide' crew found in North Korean sub

AFTER THREE days of suspense, the latest tense episode on the Korean peninsula came to a grisly end yesterday when the bodies of dead sailors were removed from a stricken North Korean submarine.

The Yugo-class midget sub had been towed to the South Korean part of Tonghae after it became tangled in fishing nets on Monday while apparently engaged on an espionage mission. On Wednesday it sank as South Korean naval ships tried to haul it alongside the dock for inspection. After being floated yesterday, television news in the South reported that an unspecified number of bodies had been found in the hull.

They were found lying in just 30 inches of water, according to Korea Broadcasting System, suggesting that they may have asphyxiated or committed suicide rather than drowned. North Korean troops are trained to commit suicide rather than allow themselves to be captured. When 26 sailors and commandos were stranded in a similar incident in 1996, most of them were shot by one of their own officers. The KBS report was not immediately confirmed by the South Korean defence ministry.

The submarine's entanglement in mackerel nets in South Korean waters 11 miles off the east coast was only the beginning of a series of misadventures. After sinking in 100 feet of water at the mouth of the dockyard, the sub was refloated yesterday using four huge balloons.

The job of prising it open was complicated by the fear of booby traps. Inside, plastic containers for soft drinks made in South Korea were discovered, suggesting that members of the crew had recently spent time as infiltrators in the South.

"What was found in the sub was contrary to a North Korean claim that the sub was missing while on a routine training mission after experiencing mechanical problems," KBS said.

But the South Korean president, Kim Dae Jung, continued to play down the incident and to emphasise the importance of co-operation with the communist North. "As the intrusion into our territorial waters by a North Korean submarine shows, military tensions are continuing," President Kim said in a speech marking the 48th anniversary yesterday of the alleged North Korean attack which provoked the three year-long Korean War.

"However, while maintaining a firm posture, the newly established government of the people will protect peace and co-operation with the North according to a flexible North Korea policy."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Supply Chain Administrator

£8000 - £10800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Supply Chain Administrator is ...

Recruitment Genius: Client IT Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...

Ashdown Group: Management Accountant / Analyst (CIMA finalist/newly qualified)

£32000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant / F...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - .NET

£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of a mark...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor