South Korea accused the North of flying several drones across their shared border on Monday, prompting Seoul’s military to deploy warplanes to shoot them down — with local media reporting one of the planes later crashed.
The incursion was the first time in years that North Korean drones have invaded the South’s airspace and came hot on the heels of a recent flurry of sanctions-busting weapons tests by Pyongyang.
The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the military first detected a suspected North Korean unmanned aerial vehicle around the airspace of Gimpo at 10:25 am (0125 GMT) and “responded immediately”.
“This is a clear act of provocation in which North Korea invaded our airspace,” a JCS official told reporters.
The incursion prompted Seoul to fire warning shots and deploy fighter jets and attack helicopters to shoot down the five drones, one of which reached airspace near the capital.
One of the warplanes, a KA-1 light attack aircraft, later crashed in Hoengseong County, Yonhap news agency reported.
The military did not indicate whether the objects had been shot down or had gone back over the border, one of the most heavily-fortified locations in the world.
The South Korean military also deployed its own manned and unmanned reconnaissance assets to areas near and north of the Military Demarcation Line for “corresponding measures”.