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South Korean Killed by Land Mine Drifted From North

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- A South Korean man was killed and another injured by a North Korean land mine that may have drifted south after being swept into a river by heavy rains, a military official said.

The men found two wooden boxes containing mines while fishing near the North Korea border late yesterday, an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today by telephone in Seoul. One mine exploded, killing one man instantly, said the official, who declined to be named because of department policy.

The Associated Press reported the incident earlier today.

As many as 11 land mines, packed in wooden boxes, have been discovered since a device was found near the maritime border with North Korea on July 30, the official said. All of the mines were safely exploded and the military is searching for more, he said.

The military also found 18 wooden boxes that were empty, according to the official. The boxes may have floated across the border after rains in North Korea, he said, adding that such cases often occur. It was unlikely North Korea intentionally released the land mines, the official said.

Torrential rain hit areas of North Korea on July 22-23, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported at the time.

A South Korean warship sank near the western maritime border on March 26, in a torpedo attack an international panel blamed on North Korea. South Korea remains technically at war with North Korea after their 1950-53 war ended in a cease-fire which was never replaced by a peace treaty.

The countries are divided by the Demilitarized Zone, 4 kilometers (2.5 mile) wide, strewn with barbed wire and land mines, that stretches across their full 248-kilometer border.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bomi Lim in Seoul at blim30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net

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