South Korea's military says it has rescued four North Koreans and returned three others to the North after their fishing boats drifted south of the disputed maritime line between the countries.
A defense ministry official says the four rescued North Koreans faced drowning before their two damaged boats were found Thursday in the Yellow Sea. Separately, three other people on a different boat were returned to the North after the South provided them fuel early Friday morning.
The official says it's unclear whether the four rescued North Koreans want to defect. The four are being questioned.
The official declined to be named, citing policy.
Tensions have been high in the area since a deadly North Korean bombing last year.