Crashed North Korean spy submarine a tourist draw ahead of Games
Published Friday, February 2, 2018 10:30PM EST
A rusty North Korean spy submarine sits in the South Korean city hosting Olympic ice sports -- a reminder of the dangerous tensions on the peninsula.
The Sang-O class submarine crashed just 11 kilometers from downtown Gangneung on Sept. 18, 1996. It now serves as a museum.
Twenty-six North Korean sailors were inside the sub that day. Some made it to shore, prompting a 49-day manhunt and strict curfews.
At least 12 South Korean soldiers and four civilians were killed. Only one North Korean sailor is known to have survived. North Korea eventually expressed “deep regret.”
Resident Choi Eun Joo was in her 20s and still remembers the gunfire. “I went up to the roof and could see bullets whiz by,” she said.
Museum manager Kim Dae Hyuk says the submarine is more than a tourist attraction. “The submarine serves as a reminder,” Kim says. “So it doesn’t happen again.”
Despite tensions escalated by North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, the two Koreas are planning to march under a single flag at the opening ceremonies on Feb. 9.
Feelings are mixed in Gangneung about about the presence of the North Korean athletes. “If it’s for peace, it’s a good thing,” one resident said.
With a report from CTV’s Kevin Gallagher in Gangneung