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Rescuers recover another body from Russian ship

Written by: Staff
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SEOUL, Oct 26 (Reuters) Rescuers have recovered another body from a Russian ship which sank in a storm on Monday off the Korean peninsula and are trying to recover another two suspected bodies which have floated into North Korean territorial waters.

''Russian rescue ship Yuri Orlenko picked up the dead body of one more missing Russian sailor, his name is Yuri Kustovin,'' Lyubov Britvina, spokeswoman for the Transport Ministry's rescue operations centre, told Reuters today.

A South Korean rescue plane detected what looked like two more dead bodies in the sea, but they had floated into North Korean territorial waters that South Korean ships could not enter.

Britvina said the Russian foreign ministry was seeking permission for the Yuri Orlenko to pick up the two bodies.

Earlier in the day, North Korea gave the go-ahead for South Korean coast guard aircraft and a patrol ship to search up to 15 miles north of their maritime border, despite regional tension over Pyongyang's October. 9 nuclear test.

South Korea's navy and coast guard have now rescued 11 Russian sailors and found with certainty two bodies from a crew of 18 which had been missing from the ship.

The 2,448-tonne Sinegorye sank about 70 miles (105 km) off Ullung Island after water rushed into its cargo compartment in rough seas, the South Korean coast guard has said.

North Korea has previously given authorisations for similar search and rescue operations off the east coast, even while keeping up tension at a disputed sea border on the other coast.

South and North Korea are technically at war under a truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. Military tensions remain high on the peninsula despite some warming of political ties in recent years.

Pyongyang warned yesterday it would take action against the South that could lead to war if Seoul joined U.N. sanctions against the North for defying international warnings with its test.

Today, Seoul announced it would ban the entry of North Koreans associated with Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programmes as a first step toward adhering to the sanctions.

REUTERS DKB ND1648

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