Missile Accidentally Launched Causes Rain of TerrorAt 10:35 a.m. on December 4, a Nike Hercules surface-to-air missile armed with a warhead was misfired at an airforce base in Inchon. It was the first time in Korea's military history that an accidental launching of a missile has occurred. The uncontrolled missile exploded in the air at a height of 300 m high over a stretch of reclaimed land near the west coast city of Inchon. Debris started to land three seconds after the missile was fired.
Tens of thousands of broken pieces rained onto a neighboring residential area injuring several people and damaging cars. Many residents were frightened when they heard the explosion and immediately took shelter.
This accident could have sparked an extreme situation with North Korea if the missile had inadvertantly headed north.
A source at the Air force said, 'How the missile was launched has not been determined but it happened during routine maintenance training. Air Force Headquarters is investigating the cause and damages.'
The Air Force is investigating the possibility that the missile was launched mistakenly by a controller or by computer malfunction.
Three residents were struck by falling debris including 43 year-old Park Jae Soo who was admitted into hospital to receive medical treatment. More than 20 cars were damaged. Several fires broke out on neighboring mountains caused by burning missile fragments.
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