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(LEAD) One officer of missing Coast Guard chopper found dead

All Headlines 10:28 February 24, 2011

(ATTN: CHANGES slug, headline, lead; UPDATES with more details, background)

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- Rescuers on Thursday discovered the body of a female officer as well as the wreckage of a Coast Guard helicopter that went missing with five crew members on board Wednesday night near waters off the southern resort island of Jeju, officials said.

The AW-139 helicopter took off from Jeju International Airport at 8:20 p.m. and picked up the deceased 28-year-old female officer, Lee Yoo-jin, who needed emergency assistance, from a patrol ship stationed in waters west of the island. After picking up Lee, the helicopter's crew lost contact with the command center, officials said.

Coast Guard officials have been continuing their search for the missing crew members as well as traces of the missing helicopter.

Twenty-one boats, one search plane and three maritime choppers were mobilized to the rescue operation near the sea area where the last phone signal from the missing helicopter was detected, according to officials.

The AW-139 helicopter, which was manufactured by Italy's AgustaWestland, was first deployed to Jeju last Friday.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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