A North Korean helicopter exploded in mid-air on Tuesday during a training exercise near the North Korea-China border, claiming the lives of two North Korean soldiers.
The training exercise involving paratroopers was being conducted near the North Korean city of Sinuiju when the helicopter exploded, showering the area with debris, according to a witness interviewed by South Korean broadcaster the Korean Broadcasting Service (KBS).
“Just before the explosion happened in the air, I saw 3 to 4 parachutists jumping out of the plane. The propeller also fell from the sky. I was scared out of my wits and I was cowering the whole time when the incident happened,” the unnamed witness told KBS.
The search and rescue operation took place close to Wihwa Island along the Yalu River near the Chinese city of Dandong. North Korea reportedly refused help from the Chinese, who offered their assistance with the rescue efforts, although it appears that North Korean civilians took part.
KBS aired images of the search and rescue operation in the area with one shot showing what appears to be a body being pulled from the river into a boat, with subsequent images showing a body covered by a blanket being carried ashore on a stretcher.
Photos Published by KBS from helicopter crash search and rescue pic.twitter.com/NeGpiBFWZg
— L.P.Byrne (@LPByrne84) June 27, 2014
Although the footage captured is credited to KBS 1, it is unclear who filmed the rescue efforts. The cause of the explosion remains unknown.
Translation by Hong Won Choi London
Featured Image: Nado Handdenun Blog North Korean helicopter