November 29, 2022

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Residents near a South Korean missile crash 'thought it was war'

Residents near a South Korean missile crash ‘thought it was war’

SEOUL (Reuters) – Hours after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over neighboring Japan on Tuesday, residents of a South Korean coastal town were stunned to see flames leaping from a nearby military base and missiles soaring into the sky.

This wasn’t the start of a war, but a South Korean display of military might went wrong in a rocket fuel combustion conflagration.

South Korea, which aims to deter North Korea, said it was conducting night exercises using Hyunmoo-2C short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) when one of them failed shortly after launch and hit the ground inside the base at Gangneung, on South Korea’s east coast. .

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A military official told a news briefing that the missile was carrying a warhead, but it was unarmed, did not explode, and there were no casualties. The official apologized for the residents’ concern.

However, burning rocket fuel lit up the night sky, prompting calls to emergency medics and fueling rumors on social media that went unanswered for eight hours until the military revealed the exercises and explained the cause of the fire.

“Suddenly I heard a roar and it made me think that something had gone wrong,” said Kim Hee-soo, a nearby resident. “So I looked at the area where they had fired Hyunmoo’s missiles before and there was flames and smoke and there was complete chaos.”

A video posted by Kim on social media went viral overnight, and other residents tuned in to fears and fears amid the silence of the military authorities.

“I thought it was war,” one of them said in a comment on the video.

Another said their house was shaken by the explosion, and a third said they had evacuated their house, thinking the landslide was on their way home.

In populous South Korea, military training is often conducted close to communities, which has sparked some protests. Read more

The 24-hour disaster management office in Gangneung told Reuters it had received several calls from worried residents.

An acting official said the military confirmed it was conducting exercises but did not explain the cause of the fire and no city firefighters were called to the base.

Kim said he is familiar with launching missiles from the base, including a joint daytime exercise between the United States and South Korea in June in response to other North Korean tests.

Kim, 43, said, “I’ve never had an accident like this in my years when I was born and raised here. It makes me very nervous and I hope they can tell us when they did a rehearsal.”

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Written by Josh Smith. Editing by Jerry Doyle

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.