25 Apr 2010

Sunken warship bow raised

6:02 am on 25 April 2010

South Korea has raised the forward half of a warship that exploded and sank a month ago near a disputed border area with North Korea.

An unexplained explosion split the ship in half and it sank with the loss of 46 sailors.

Investigators say the damage appeared to have been caused by an external blast.

South Korea has avoided blaming the North outright and Pyongyang has denied any role in the sinking of the vessel.

The front half of the Cheonan, a 1,200-tonne corvette, was raised by a giant crane on Friday and placed on a barge to be towed to a naval port for inspection.

The BBC reports the stern was lifted out of the sea last week.

The body of a missing sailor was found in the bow wreckage and it will be searched for the bodies of six of the crew who are still missing.

Fifty-eight sailors were rescued after the explosion on 26 March.

The Yonhap news agency on Thursday quoted a senior military source in Seoul as saying it was suspected that North Korean submarines attacked the ship with a heavy torpedo.