South Korean military plane accidentally drops anti-ship missiles into sea

South Korean military plane accidentally drops anti-ship missiles into sea
A South Korean military plane has accidentally dropped anti-ship missiles into the Sea of Japan (or the East Sea), according to the country’s military, which added that the crew triggered the release by pushing the wrong button.

The P-3CK four-engine anti-submarine and maritime surveillance plane dropped three Harpoon missiles, a torpedo, and depth charges into the sea, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the South Korean military.

“One of the plane’s crew mistakenly touched the emergency weapons release switch at around 6:10am,” an official source was cited as saying.

The weapons were not armed, and no civilians were affected by accident. “There was one fishing boat in the area but it sustained no damage,” he said.

The weapons fell into the water about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the east of Yangyang, prompting a mine sweeper and salvage ship to be sent to the area.

The mishap comes on the same day as a New Year’s statement from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s announced that Pyongyang is developing prohibited intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Tensions have been running high in the region recently, with the North announcing in January that it is now capable of launching a nuclear attack. Meanwhile, South Korea and the US have disclosed that they intend to install a THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) anti-missile system in South Korea, which is to be operational in 2017.