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Ryan Pickrell

Incredible video footage from the tense Korean Demilitarized Zone shows one North Korean soldier’s desperate dash into South Korea as his comrades let loose a barrage of bullets.

United Nations Command released CCTV footage of a suspected staff sergeant in his 20s fleeing his desolate country, first in a jeep and then on foot, with North Korean soldiers hot on his heels. The man crossed into South Korea at the Joint Security Area while his comrades chased after him, firing on him as he ran.

A clearer and more detailed video of this extremely rare incident can be seen below. In the video, four North Korean soldiers can be seen pursuing the defector, trying to kill him before he can reach freedom.

WATCH:

The young North Korean soldier was shot multiple times, but he succeeded in making it into South Korea before he collapsed in a pile of leaves. He was rescued by South Korean troops and airlifted to a medical facility in Suwon. He has already undergone two major surgeries, and he is scheduled to have another surgery Wednesday.

The operations were complicated by the presence of numerous parasites and widespread infection, but the medical team has so far managed to keep him alive.

The North Korean soldier has regained consciousness and is communicating with the medical staff, but conversation is limited. His first words were reportedly “Is this actually South Korea?” The medical staff hung the South Korean flag in his hospital room to comfort him and to remind him that he actually made it. The medical personnel at Ajou University Hospital where the man is receiving treatment suspect the soldier is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In addition to revealing details about one man’s daring escape, the video shows multiple armistice violations on the part of the North Korean troops at the JSA. Not only were they carrying prohibited weapons, but they also fired and personally crossed into South Korea at the Military Demarcation Line during the incident.

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