• Dokdo 119 Rescue Aid Squad Launches Pilot Operations
(Photo: Yonhap News)

A 119 emergency rescue squad on Dokdo began pilot operations Friday as part of efforts to better ensure the safety of the growing number of visitors to South Korea's easternmost islets.

According to the Korean National Fire Agency, the National 119 Rescue Headquarters sent one rescue worker and one paramedic to test run the Dokdo 119 Rescue Aid Squad.

They will reside there for 15 days at a time and perform rescue and first aid activities for visitors and others.

The squad will also be in charge of patrols and training to protect visitors from accidents.

It is the first time for state rescue workers to be stationed on Dokdo, a South Korean territory frequently claimed by Japan.

In 2019, some 260,000 people visited the islets.

The 119 headquarters plans to decide whether to launch a formal rescue squad on Dokdo after continuing the pilot operation until the end of October.

One South Korean civilian currently lives on Dokdo besides a South Korean Coast Guard unit that has been maintained there since 1954.

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