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North Korea rocket fragments salvaged underwater, Seoul says

The rocket debris resulted from the detonation of a preinstalled self-destructive device, according to South Korean media.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Feb. 11, 2016 at 11:30 AM
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SEOUL, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Various parts of the North Korea rocket that fell off the coast of the peninsula were salvaged, South Korea's Navy said Thursday.

The recovered fragments include a first-stage missile propellant, a rocket engine nozzle and rocket debris, South Korea's News 1 reported.

Seoul's Navy said the South's minesweeper, the Gimpo, had identified the debris about 65 nautical miles southwest of Eocheongdo Island on the western coast. The ship's sonar had detected the fragments that lay at a depth of 80 meters below the water's surface, the Navy said.

Another ship, the Tongyeong, was dispatched to collect the North Korean rocket debris, and divers and remotely operated underwater vehicles, or ROVs, were deployed for the first time, according to Kim Ho-jin, the captain of the Tongyeong.

North Korea had also begun deploying ships and the P-3, a maritime patrol aircraft, to search for the remaining fragments.

South Korean newspaper Herald Business reported the rocket debris resulted from the detonation of a preinstalled self-destructive device, and that in 2012 Seoul had salvaged the North's rocket debris in order to identify Pyongyang's missile capabilities.

Earlier in the week, the South's dispatched Lynx maritime helicopters had identified debris about 90 miles southwest of Jeju Island. It was collected by the South's Aegis-class destroyer and later transferred to the Agency for Defense Development.

As experts weighed in on the North's recent satellite launch, Pyongyang aired previously unreleased footage of what it claims are preparations that took place prior to launch, South Korean television network MBC reported.

The North showed images of the missile assembly process and stated Kim Jong Un visited the site at Dongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, two times prior to liftoff.

Pyongyang also showed images of unfolding satellite panels on the Kwangmyongsong-4, the satellite that was launched Saturday, as well as the first-stage missile propellant recovered Thursday.

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