US military Black Hawk crashes near N. Korea border

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Visitors look over the North-South Korea industrial complex in Kaesong, North Korea, through binoculars at Dora Observation Post in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) near the border village of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. AP/WON DAE-HYUN

SEOUL – A US military helicopter crashed Tuesday near the North Korean border, a South Korean defense official said, with no reported casualties.

The helicopter, identified by the Yonhap news agency as a UH-60 Black Hawk, came down in Cheolwon county, which touches on the border with North Korea, a defense ministry spokesman told AFP.

The precise cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but the incident occurred during ongoing South Korea-US joint military exercises.

Yonhap quoted emergency rescue workers as saying the 12 service personnel on board the helicopter had survived the crash, which comes at a time of heightened military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has condemned the joint exercises as a rehearsal for invasion, and made a series of dire threats of military retaliation.

There are 28,500 US military personnel permanently stationed in South Korea.

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