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(2nd LD) One die, another injured in explosion near border town with North Korea

All Headlines 13:22 August 01, 2010

(ATTN: UPDATES with low possibilities of the North's intentional release; RESTRUCTURES)

YEONCHEON, South Korea, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- A man died and another was injured from what appears to be an explosion of a wooden box landmine that drifted south from North Korea, local police here said Sunday.

The explosion occurred around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday in a border city 60 kilometers northeast of Seoul. A 48-year-old man, known only by his last name Han, died at the scene, while a 25-year-old man with the last name Kim was taken to a hospital with injuries.

Police said that the two were carrying what was probably a boxed landmine that they picked up on their way back from fishing at the Imjin River. The area where they were fishing is off limits to civilians, according to investigators.

An investigation has been under way on the exact cause of the incident and how the men were able to gain entrance to the area.

The military had issued warnings to locals and vacationers on Saturday to take extra caution after discovering wooden box landmines in western coastal areas near the inter-Korean border. Local Army units mobilized Sunday for a wider search found dozens more of the box landmines, made to go off when opened, along streams that connect with North Korea.

An official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the landmines are believed to have drifted down from the North, but that it was unlikely they were released intentionally.

"We judge that the wooden box landmines buried or in reserve on the North Korean side have drifted south in heavy downpours," the official said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

North Korea's state media has been reporting damages from heavy rainfall throughout the country in recent days.

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