Torpedo blamed as South Korea mourns sailors

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The Independent Online

South Korea's president bemoaned the "precious deaths" of dozens of sailors killed when an explosion destroyed their warship, as suspicion increasingly fell on a North Korean torpedo blast in the disaster.

Defence Minister Kim Tae-young said that an underwater explosion appeared to have ripped apart the 1,200-ton Cheonan on March 26, and that a torpedo blast seemed the most likely cause.

Investigators who examined salvaged wreckage separately announced yesterday that a close-range, external explosion likely sank it.

The government has been careful not to blame the North outright.

Makeshift altars were set up across South Korea for a five-day mourning period that opened yesterday. President Lee Myung-bak visited one of the shrines on today to pay his respects.