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2 Die in US Army Plane Crash in South Korea - 2003-08-12

Two U.S. soldiers have died in a plane crash near a town in South Korea.

South Korean and American officials say a small U.S. army plane crashed in a field 70 kilometers south of Seoul. South Korean police say the two soldiers flying the plane were killed when it hit a greenhouse and exploded. Eighth Army spokesman Major Lee Packnett confirmed the plane went down not far from a U.S. military base. "A C-12 twin-turbo passenger-cargo aircraft crashed about seven miles [11 kilometers] southwest of Camp Humphreys at Pyongtaek, Republic of Korea, today at 2:43 p.m," said the spokesman.

Witnesses told authorities it appeared that the plane was trying to make an emergency landing. South Korean officials say the plane crashed in a garlic field behind a restaurant. There were no casualties on the ground.

The aircraft - the military version of the Beechcraft Super King Air - belonged to the Army's 52nd Aviation Battalion.

Also Tuesday, South Korean police detained a U.S. Army officer who is reported to have been seen trying to throw a body into the Yellow Sea. A police investigator says a bag containing the body of a woman was found in muddy salt water below the bridge, near the international airport at Inchon.

U.S. military officials say they are cooperating fully with the Korean police investigation. They identify the arrested officer as Major Richard Hart.

Accidents and crimes involving the 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea often spark civilian protests.

Several of the American bases are near heavily populated areas, causing friction with surrounding communities.

Protests surged last year after two 13-year-old schoolgirls were crushed to death by an armored vehicle operated by two U.S. soldiers.