News / Asia

N. Korea Flooding Hampers Search for Downed US Pilot

The city skyline is shrouded by a layer of mist after a torrential rain in Pyongyang, July 22, 2013.
The city skyline is shrouded by a layer of mist after a torrential rain in Pyongyang, July 22, 2013.
VOA correspondent Steve Herman is in North Korea and has been able to make a rare journey out from the capital Pyongyong, where he's had a first-hand glimpse at some of the damage in the country caused by overflowing rivers and other flooding.  He reports from Hyangsan, where recent heavy rainfall has led to the discovery of some human remains that seem to date back to the Korean War.

North Korean military officers have informed VOA News that the partial remains of what appear to be several U.S. soldiers from the Korean War were discovered after severe flooding around July 10.

Villagers are said to have spotted several pairs of American military shoes that led to the human bones at Ryongyeon-ri, Kujang County, in North Pyongan province.  Travel from the capital Pyongyang to the area has been restricted because the main and alternate highways have been partly destroyed.

Travelers can see an approximately 50-meter section of one direction of the primary road fully destroyed, the pavement having crumpled away and fallen dozens of meters.  At another point, part of the pavement on a bridge has buckled.

Former US Navy pilot and medal of honor recipient Thomas Hudner, seen here arriving at Pyongyang airport July 20, 2013, is greeted by North Korean officials. (VOA/S. Herman)Former US Navy pilot and medal of honor recipient Thomas Hudner, seen here arriving at Pyongyang airport July 20, 2013, is greeted by North Korean officials. (VOA/S. Herman)
x
Former US Navy pilot and medal of honor recipient Thomas Hudner, seen here arriving at Pyongyang airport July 20, 2013, is greeted by North Korean officials. (VOA/S. Herman)
Former US Navy pilot and medal of honor recipient Thomas Hudner, seen here arriving at Pyongyang airport July 20, 2013, is greeted by North Korean officials. (VOA/S. Herman)
Among those traveling on the hazardous road on Monday evening was American, Thomas Hudner, 88, from Concord, Massachusetts.  Hudner is back in North Korea for the first time in 63 years.  He crashed landed his Navy plane on a slope in the Chosin Reservoir in December 1950, in an unsuccessful attempt to save his wingman Jesse Brown who had crash landed his Corsair F4U jet after apparently being hit by ground fire during a fierce Korean War battle.

Hudner hopes to return to the site to try to find Brown's body, but the current flooding in the country is likely to prevent him from reaching the site.  Hudner is on a private mission to North Korea.  U.S. military search and recovery teams have not entered the country in seven years.  Since then, tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have increased.

In March of this year, North Korea's army severed the hotline with the U.S. military at Panmunjom.  North Korea's army says it informed its American counterparts in 2009 at the truce village that several sets of remains of U.S. servicemen from the war in the early 1950s had been found, but there was no response from U.S. military officials.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Curtis Melvin from: Arlington, VA
July 29, 2013 2:06 PM
The building in the picture at the top is the DPRK's new central bank headquarters (under construction).

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs