New details have emerged about the North Korean soldier that was shot by his own troops as he fled across the demilitarized zone separating the two Korean states. While around 1,000 North Koreans defect to the South per year, it is extremely uncommon to do so directly across the heavily patrolled DMZ, and even more uncommon for it to be one of the very soldiers tasked with preventing such a defection.
According to reports from the region, five North Korean soldiers opened fire on the defector as he made his break for freedom. The North Korean troops fired somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 rounds, hitting the soldier with five. This marks the first time shots have been fired in the DMZ in more than 30 years. South Korean troops did not return fire.
According to the South Korean military, the soldier first approached the DMZ in a military Jeep, and was already taking fire before he abandoned the vehicle after one of its wheels fell into a ditch. He then fled on foot, with North Korean soldiers in pursuit and firing their weapons at him. According to South Korean reports, this was witnessed by border guards via an unspecified surveillance system they have installed in the area.
The soldier was then found hiding beneath a pile of leaves just south of the demilitarized zone and inside South Korean territory, but because they remained in range of North Korean rifles, South Korean troops crawled to his aid before evacuating him on a U.N. helicopter.