24 August 2007
Unmanned US spy plane crashes near inter-Korean border
By Staff Writers

An unmanned US military spy plane used to monitor North Korean troop movements has crashed near the heavily fortified inter-Korean border, US officials said Friday.

The Shadow 200 went down Thursday night near the Camp Casey US army base at Dongducheon, 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of the Demilitarised Zone which bisects the peninsula, a US military spokesman said.

"The drone crashed in an unpopulated area that is densely vegetated and mountainous, causing no human losses," he told AFP.

Its mission is to monitor North Korean troop movements while flying along the border, he said, adding that it never crosses the frontier.

The drone, controlled from the ground, suffered "probable mechanical engine failures" shortly after take-off, the US military said in a statement.

"This type of small tactical drone is routinely flown in Korea and in dozens of countries around the world to support a tactical level of training," it said.

A Shadow 200 crashed at Dongducheon on October 16, one month after US troops deployed it for the first time in South Korea.

North Korea frequently accuses the US military of mounting spy flights over its territory.

The maximum range of the Shadow 200 is 125 kilometres (78 miles), depending on data link capability. It generally operates from 8,000 to 10,000 feet above ground during the daytime and lower at night.

The US has 29,500 troops supporting South Korea's 680,000-strong forces against any confrontation with North Korea's 1.1 million-strong military.

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