Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A South Korean national who went missing on Monday is believed to be in North Korean territory.
A source with the South Korean National Assembly's National Defense Committee told local news service News 1 on Wednesday South Korean military authorities have confirmed the presence of a "moving object" in North Korean waters not far from the disputed Northern Limit Line, a maritime border on the western side of the Korean Peninsula.
News 1's source said the moving object is likely to be a person on a boat, but it is unclear whether the individual is the missing South Korean national, an officer with Seoul's fisheries ministry.
A defense ministry source told South Korean news service Money Today on Wednesday the missing person was "first detected" on Tuesday afternoon in North Korean waters.
The evidence is undergoing "detailed analysis," Money Today reported Wednesday.
Fellow crewmembers of the missing man noticed their colleague had disappeared, along with his 499-ton fishery patrol boat, about 11:30 a.m. Monday, Money Today reported. A search only turned up slippers, presumably belonging to the 47-year-old officer. The crewmembers notified South Korean maritime police.
Authorities have so far deployed police, naval ships, other marine vessels and even aircraft, more than 20 carriers in total, in response to the call. The search did not turn up survivors.
According to News 1, it is likely the officer, who disappeared about a mile from Soyeonpyeong Island, in the Ongjin County of Incheon, did not defect to the North.
"It is not within swimming distance. It does not appear to be an intentional crossing into the North," sources said.
Soyeonpyeong Island is about six miles from the disputed NLL.