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Soldier jumps into river after unit's coastal operations failure

Defense 10:39 July 09, 2019

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- An Army soldier jumped off a Han River bridge to his death, officials said Tuesday, after his unit came under fire for failing to detect a North Korean boat's arrival at a South Korean port last month.

The 21-year-old private first class from the Army's 23rd division in Samcheok, Gangwon Province, threw himself into the Han River on Monday night, an Army officer said. After being rescued, the solider was rushed a nearby hospital, but died soon after, the officer said.

It was unclear if his death was related to the border security failure.

Officials said an investigation is under way to determine the motive of his suicide.

The soldier was on duty on the afternoon of June 15 after the small wooden boat carrying four North Koreans arrived at the Samcheok port earlier in the day.

"He had not been under military investigation over the case. The soldier is not directly related to the North Korean boat case," a defense ministry official said, stressing its principle that those serving their mandatory military service should not take responsibility for the incident.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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