Without warning, an American soldier at a South Korean airport inexplicably fled and ran across the border into North Korea, where he is now being detained. Although his motives aren't exactly clear, Private 2nd Class Travis King was about to board a flight back to the United States for disciplinary reasons when he made his move.
According to CBS, King had already made it through airport security when he folded himself into a border tour group, blending in with the tourists as they made their way to the the Military Demarcation Line at Panmunjom. But it wasn't long before King suddenly took off, laughing out loud as he ran between buildings, managing to cross the North Korean border at 3:27 p.m. local time.
The witness said military personnel reacted within seconds to the man's actions, but at first, there was confusion.
"I thought it was a bad joke at first," one witness said. "But when he didn't come back, I realized it wasn't a joke, and then everybody reacted and things got crazy."
A U.S. soldier crossed into North Korea "willfully and without authorization" and was believed to be in the custody of the country's forces, U.S. and international officials said Tuesday. The United Nations Command, which operates the Joint Security Area (JSA) within the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, first confirmed that an unidentified U.S. national had crossed the border. …
"A U.S. National on a JSA orientation tour crossed, without authorization, the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)," U.N. Command said in its earlier statement, using the formal name for North Korea. "We believe he is currently in DPRK custody and are working with our KPA [North Korean army] counterparts to resolve this incident."
The witness said military personnel reacted within seconds to the man's actions, but at first, there was confusion. …
The witness said there were no North Korean soldiers visible where the man ran, and that they were told there haven't been since the coronavirus pandemic, when the North attempted to completely seal its borders to the outside world.
They said after the man ran across the border, the tour group was rushed back to the Freedom House for everyone to give statements and then taken to their bus.