A South Korean Navy ship patrols waters off the coast of Incheon.
The government is looking into whether a South Korean fisheries control official who went missing while on duty aboard an inspection boat off the western border island of Yeonpyeong earlier this week, could be alive in North Korea.
The 47-year-old official affiliated with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries disappeared before noon Monday during a patrol some 10 kilometers south of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto inter-Korean maritime border.
Colleagues only found his shoes on the vessel and reported his disappearance to the Coast Guard, prompting an intensive search.
According to the ministry, based on military intelligence, the official was found in North Korean waters late Tuesday.
It was not immediately known if he was found alive.
The authorities are still looking into the details and said they would take necessary steps to find out what exactly happened to the man, including checking related facts with North Korea.
The ministry did not elaborate on how it would communicate with the North, as the inter-Korean liaison line and military hotlines were severed in June, after Pyongyang took issue with propaganda leaflets sent from the South.
An official of the unification ministry said they would keep close watch over relevant situations and the ongoing probe.
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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