Rescue workers on Tuesday retreived another body believed to be one of the missing people who were on board an ambulance chopper that crashed into the East Sea five days ago, the local Coast Guard said.
The retrieval came after a remotely operated vehicle of the Navy's submarine rescue ship Cheonghaejin located a body from the site where the chopper went down late Monday night, according to the Korea Coast Guard East Regional Headquarters.
|A salvaged chopper is being transported on Nov. 3 in the East Sea. (Yonhap)|
The body could not be brought to the surface immediately due to a problem with the electronic equipment, with the operation resuming later on Tuesday. Four bodies remain missing.
The ill-fated ambulance helicopter owned by the National 119 Rescue Headquarters was carrying seven people, including an injured person, when it crashed into the East Sea on Thursday night shortly after taking off from the easternmost islets of Dokdo. The rescue chopper was on a mission to save the patient from a fishing boat.
Over the weekend, rescue workers retrieved two bodies, identified as the chopper's co-pilot and chief mechanic, and its fuselage from the waters.
Coast Guard officials speculate that the third body found there was the one that was lost during Sunday's fuselage salvage operation after being trapped inside the chopper.
They said a rescue team consisting of 20 Coast Guard and naval vessels, six aircraft and three drones will continue to search for other people remaining missing and plans to additionally salvage the chopper's black box and tail parts, found at a location about 114 meters from the crash site, to help determine the cause of the crash.
The operation to salvage the chopper's black box will also begin soon.
"Depending on the condition of the flight data recorder, the investigation may take days, or even up to months," an official from the Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board said.
The crashed chopper, an EC-225 Super Puma long-range passenger transport helicopter built by France-based Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, was imported to South Korea in 2016. (Yonhap)