Close-range external explosion caused sinking of South Korean warship

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New Delhi, Apr 25 (ANI): South Korea's joint civilian and military investigation team has found in its initial investigations that a "close-range external explosion" might be the cause of a Navy warship's sinking last month.

"An initial inspection of the bow of the Cheonan salvaged Saturday led investigators to reach a preliminary conclusion that the warship was destroyed by a non-contact external explosion," Yonhap News Agency quoted government officials, as saying.

"Instead of being directly hit by a torpedo or other underwater weapon, the Cheonan was affected by a strong explosion that occurred below its bottom at a close range," the official said.

The 1,200-ton Navy frigate "Cheonan", with 104 crewmembers onboard, went down on March 26, off the South Korean island of Baekryeongdo off the west coast due to an unexplained explosion that split it in two.

Fifty-eight sailors were rescued alive, while 40 sailors were confirm dead. Six others are still unaccounted for but are believed dead, Xinhua reports.

The bow of the sunken ship was salvaged on Saturday while the stern of it was raised out of water on April 15.

Meanwhile, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Un-chan announced a five-day nationwide mourning period in tribute to the Cheonan victims from Sunday.

The government also decided to set April 29 as the national mourning day while hold a Navy funeral for the victims at the same day. (ANI)

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