|This photo provided by South Korea's Ministry of Defense, shows an object salvaged by South Korea's military that is presumed to be part of a North Korean space-launch vehicle that crashed into the sea following a launch failure in waters off Eocheongdo Island, South Korea, May 31. AP-Yonhap|
The South Korean military continued its operations Saturday to search and salvage the wreckage of a North Korean rocket that crashed into the Yellow Sea earlier this week.
Deep-sea divers from the Sea Salvage and Rescue Unit were deployed to the remote area, 200 kilometers west of the western island of Eocheong, military officials said.
The North launched what it claimed to be a satellite-carrying rocket Wednesday. But it crashed into the sea due to the abnormal starting of the second-stage engine, the North's state media said.
The salvage operation involves divers attaching high-strength ropes to the 15-meter-long debris, which sank to a depth of 75 meters on the seafloor. Three salvage ships have been deployed to the area for the operation.
The space vehicle, named Chollima-1, is estimated to have a length ranging from 29 to 30 meters.
The debris spotted by the South Korean military Wednesday is believed to be the second and third stages of the launch vehicle.
Officials said there is a possibility of finding the military reconnaissance satellite, Malligyong-1, mounted on the rocket.
In a text message sent to reporters at around 5:30 p.m., the military said it will wrap up operations due to high ocean current conditions and resume Sunday.
"Depending on the progress of the work, we could salvage part of the space launch vehicle as early as tomorrow," it said. (Yonhap)