South Korea landslides lead to land mine fears

South Korea landslides lead to land mine fears Seoul: Thousands of rescuers dug through thick mud for survivors of deadly landslides and flooding as South Korea's military today warned that buried land mines may have slid down mountains weakened by rain.

Massive rainfall in Seoul and surrounding areas since Tuesday has killed at least 47 people, and another four were missing. The rain stopped or decreased today, but more was forecast until tomorrow morning.

At a mountain where a deadly slide hit yesterday, digging for missing people was halted today until the rain stopped because the Defense Ministry said mines placed there in the 1960s could have shifted. Soldiers with metal detectors were waiting to search for the mines, said Yoon Yong-sam, a spokesman for the air force, which planted the land mines around an air defense base on the mountain.

A defense ministry official said earlier that 10 mines could have been pushed down Wumyeon Mountain. The official declined to be named because of policy. Another ministry official, spokesman Kim Min-seok, played down the immediate risk because a concrete wall on the hillside could be stopping the mines from reaching rescue workers.

South Korea's military dug up many land mines on the mountain between 1999 and 2006, but about 10 couldn't be accounted for, officials said. Fences around the base have warnings about unaccounted land mines.

There were also fears of land mines in northern provinces also hit by flooding and slides, prompting the Joint Chiefs of Staff to order mine-search operations where needed.