16 August 2016
SEOUL, South Korea — Three South Korean sailors were killed and another seriously injured in an apparent gas explosion Tuesday at a southeastern naval base, military officials said.
The blast occurred about 8:30 a.m. when the men were trying to open the hatch of a midget submarine undergoing repairs at South Korea’s Jinhae naval base, the officials said. The force of the blast tossed one of the sailors into the water.
Military authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion, but it appears to have been an accumulation of gas in the hull, the officials said.
One sailor was found dead at the scene while another died of his injuries at a navy hospital. The body of the third was found by the navy after a search that lasted more than five hours, the officials said.
Naval personnel were testing the equipment before starting full-scale repairs on the small submarine, which has been docked at the port since May, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.