August 02, 2010 11:58
An angler was killed and another seriously injured at a border town in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province when a mine exploded that had apparently drifted from North Korea in recent floods there.
Yeoncheon police on Sunday said the mine blew up at around 11 p.m. on Saturday, instantly killing a 48-year-old man identified as Han and seriously injuring another identified as Kim (26) as shrapnel hit him in the right side.
Last Friday another angler reported a North Korean boxed landmine on Daebinchang Beach on Jumun Island close to the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border with the North, in Incheon.
The landmine, encased in a wooden box 20 cm wide, 9 cm long and 4 cm high, explodes due to shock. Holidaymakers and residents are advised to be careful when they visit rivers or beaches and look out for landmines floating on the water.
This is not the first time such mines have drifted from the North but until now no casualties occurred. The Joint Chiefs of Staff urged the people not to touch any suspicious-looking wooden boxes but report them to a nearby military unit or police immediately.
"It appears that the victims found the mine in a field of reeds while leaving after fishing in the upper reaches of the Imjin River, which is off-limits to civilians, and that Han carried the mine, which blew up due to some shock," a military spokesman said. "The two victims, neighbors in the nearby city of Paju, were fishing illegally inside the civilian control line."
Troops were mobilized to search for North Korean landmines in and around 10 streams flowing from the North and had collected 35 of them by Sunday afternoon, the military said.
The JCS said personnel collected 16 on Ganghwa Island and 19 in the Imjin River area in Yeoncheon. Of the 16 found in Ganghwa, four boxes were empty and the other 12 were safely detonated. Of the 19 found in Yeoncheon, 16 were empty, two only had explosives without detonators, and the other detonated.
The JCS also said the Yeoncheon boxes were decayed and their safety pins had been removed, while those found in the Ganghwa area seemed to have been in storage because they still had their safety pins and looked relatively clean.
The Defense Ministry said it sent a telephone message to the North through the military communication line on the west coast on Sunday afternoon urging it to prevent a recurrence of such accidents.
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