Seoul, South Korea (CNN) – A man who tried to swim across a river to North Korea was killed by a rain of bullets fired at him by South Korean soldiers, a military official said.
The shooting took place Monday afternoon at the heavily fortified border that separates the two Koreas.
The South Korean man managed to get past a barbed wire fence by the bank of the Imjin River, which flows through part of the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries, and then jumped into the water with a Styrofoam float, Brig. Gen. Cho Jong-sul said Tuesday.
“We kept warning him verbally to come back to land,” Cho said at a news conference. “The river was only about 800 meters wide where he jumped in. It wouldn’t have taken long for him to swim across with the float. It was a very tense situation.”
When the man failed to heed the warnings, the entire unit of about 30 soldiers began firing at him.
“Several hundred shots were fired,” Cho said.
Asked whether this was a reasonable response, he said, “It is a regulation to shoot anyone who does not respond to the command and tries to escape in the controlled area.”
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