Former gymnast vaults 10-foot border fence to defect from North Korea, reports say

Don Sweeney
·1 min read

A man caught Nov. 4 by South Korean security forces near the border says he escaped North Korea by vaulting over a 10-foot fence topped with barbed wire, officials say.

The man, in his 20s, told security personnel he had formerly been a gymnast, The Korea Herald reported. Authorities say his light body weight and gymnastics skills may have aided his escape.

Seoul officials, who are still questioning the man, had him recreate his jump twice, according to the publication.

Thermal imaging cameras captured the man lingering near the border in the demilitarized zone between the rival nations as early as Nov. 2, United Press International reported.

The man, found wearing “blue civilian clothes,” surrendered to South Korean security forces about a mile from the border Nov. 4, according to the publication.

He was captured about 14 hours after crossing the border near Goseong in eastern South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported.

South Korea military officials vowed to investigate why sensors on the fences failed to detect the man, according to the news agency.

Officials also do not know how the man avoided minefields on both sides of the border, UPI reported.