South Korea missile surface-to-surface missile is fired into the sea during US-South Korea live-fire drills
A surface-to-surface missile is fired into the sea during US-South Korea live-fire drills. Image Credit: South Korean Defence Ministry via Reuters

A South Korean ballistic missile malfunctioned and fell on land during a live-fire drill with the United States, with sound of the blast and subsequent fire triggering panic among residents in the coastal city of Gangneung.

They feared an attack from increasingly hostile North Korea.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday that no one was hurt from the accident on Tuesday night.

It said the military was investigating why the Hyunmoo-2 missile malfunctioned. It did not immediately specify where the missile landed.


The military acknowledged the accident hours after internet users posted videos showing an orange ball of flames emerging from an area they described as near a Gangneung air force base.

The live-fire drill came hours after North Korea flew a nuclear-capable ballistic missile that crossed Japan in its most provocative weapons demonstration in years.

Tuesday’s launch extended a record number of North Korean launches this year as the country pushes to develop a fully fledged nuclear arsenal capable of threatening the US mainland and its allies with the goal of wresting concessions from those countries.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean and US militaries successfully fired a total of four Army Tactical Missile Systems missiles during the exercise that it said was aimed at showing its precision strike capabilities against the North.

The allies earlier on Tuesday launched fighter planes that fired weapons at a target off South Korea’s west coast in another show of strength.