Land mines wash up on SKorean shores, apparently swept by rains from North; 1 man killed

By Hyung-jin Kim, AP
Saturday, July 31, 2010

Land mine swept ashore from NKorea kills SKorean

SEOUL, South Korea — Dozens of land mines have washed up on South Korean shores over the weekend, apparently swept down from North Korea by torrential rains. One killed a man and wounded another, the military said Sunday.

Two men discovered two mines in wooden boxes floating in a river while they were fishing near the border with North Korea on Saturday night, according to an officer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

One mine exploded while they were carrying them home, killing one of the men immediately, said the official on condition of anonymity, citing department policy. The other man was seriously wounded and was taken to a nearby hospital.

The land mines can be triggered by a slight pressure, he said. It was not clear if the men knew the objects they picked up were mines.

A total of 35 such mines have been swept to South Korea since Saturday, apparently riding rapids triggered by heavy rains in the North, according to the Defense Ministry.

Later Sunday, South Korea sent a message urging North Korea to take appropriate measures preventing land mines from being washed downstream to the south, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The two Koreas are still technically at war because their 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Their 155-mile-long (250-kilometer-long) border is strewn with mines.

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