The military is expected to salvage as early as Sunday the wreckage of a North Korean space vehicle that crashed into the Yellow Sea earlier this week after the regime attempted to launch a spy satellite.
The South Korean military on Saturday morning deployed deep-sea divers from the Sea Salvage and Rescue Unit to an area some 200 kilometers from the island of Eocheong near Gunsan, North Jeolla Province.
The divers are said to have partially succeeded in tying high-strength ropes around a 15-meter-long object to lift it out of the water.
The military plans to secure additional ropes around the wreckage before lifting it out of the water and transporting it to the Navy Second Fleet in Pyeongtaek.
The wreckage currently lies on the seabed, 75 meters below the surface. It is believed to be part of the rocket's second stage.
The Navy's Cheonghaejin submarine rescue ship, which can operate 300 meters below water, and two 35-hundred-ton salvage vessels are also assisting with the operation.
Meanwhile, South Korea and the United States agreed to conduct a joint investigation on the wreckage once it is retrieved from the sea.
Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Auston reached the agreement on Saturday during a brief pull-aside meeting on the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.