SEOUL, March 4 (UPI) -- A 6,000-ton Russian cargo ship that crashed into a bilevel bridge in the South Korean port city of Busan last Thursday was in communication with local marine traffic control, according to the city's maritime police.
The latest findings indicate the captain, or possibly other crewmembers of the Seagrand vessel, were in contact with traffic control, contradicting earlier claims the captain of the ship could not respond to radio signals because he did not speak English.
The captain of the ship was also drunk at the time of the crash, according to local news service Newsis.
Busan maritime police said Monday the Russian vessel was in correspondence with traffic control before and after the crash.
Communication was lost for about 14 minutes, during which the crash took place.
Yonhap reported Monday communication records from Busan police show the control center was in communication with the Seagrand prior to the accident.
When the ship was asked whether it was leaving Yongho Pier it replied "yes," and asked for a tugboat. The Seagrand then confirmed it had collided with the Midas Yacht, and would be returning to port. But minutes later, the ship denied the collision and asks for two tugboats to tow it out to sea.
Communication was subsequently lost, during which time the Seagrand crashed into the bi-level Gwangan Bridge.
Seven minutes after the crash, the ship again reached out to traffic control, reporting it would be dangerous to anchor the vessel.
The captain was intoxicated while steering the ship, according to reports.
The drunken captain had directed the vessel in the opposite direction before the accident. The ship left a 15-foot hole in the lower portion of the bridge.
Investigation is ongoing into why communication was lost immediately before and after the crash.