South Korean soldiers shoot at passenger plane

2011-06-18 08:34

South Korean soldiers shot at a civilian airliner near the northern border after mistaking it for a North Korean military plane, officials said today.

Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed military source saying that two soldiers on Gyodong Island fired their rifles at the Asiana Airlines flight for about 10 minutes at dawn yesterday.

“When the plane, which the guards said they had never seen before, was approaching, the guards misidentified it as a plane from the North Korean air force and shot at it,” the source said.

They fired an estimated 99 rounds toward the South Korean plane as it was descending toward Incheon International Airport, Yonhap said.

The commercial flight was carrying about 119 passengers and crew from China, it said.

The military source said the airliner was undamaged, noting that it was about 500 metres out of the range of the K-2 rifles.

The soldiers claimed the plane was flying north of the normal route, but Asiana Airlines said the plane never went off course.

“We checked yesterday through the air force and the airport control centre to make sure there were no abnormalities such as being off course,” Yonhap quoted a company official saying.

The incident occurred amid lingering tensions over Pyongyang’s two attacks on the South last year that killed 50 South Koreans.

The North recently threatened to break off ties with Seoul and to retaliate for the South’s psychological warfare tactics.


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