South Korean rescuers retrieved two bodies believed to be among four that remained missing after their chopper crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from islets disputed with Japan, officials said Sunday.
The helicopter had just picked an injured fisherman up from Dokdo, which is known as Takeshima in Japan, when it went down on Thursday night.
The Coast Guard said the two bodies found early Sunday were both male with one believed to be a fireman but added it was still trying to identify them.
On Saturday, three bodies were located, including one found inside the crashed chopper sitting upside down on the sea bed at a depth of 72 meters (240 feet).
Dozens of divers were scouring the waters for the two victims that remain missing, authorities said, and Navy and Coast Guard vessels, as well as helicopters and airplanes, have been mobilized for the search operation.
The crashed chopper is a Eurocopter EC225, made by the European aerospace corporation Airbus.
The seven people on board were five rescuers, the fisherman and a civilian.
Seoul has controlled the islets in the Sea of Japan – or East Sea – since 1945, when Tokyo’s brutal colonial rule on the peninsula ended, while Japan still claims sovereignty over them.