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Culture

With one wrong swipe, South Korea loses $5M worth of weapons

Commentary: A naval aircraft is on a routine mission when, well, oops.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A P-3CK Orion plane, similar to the one involved in the mishap.

Getty Images

We spend our days poking at screens without thinking.

Our fingers push, press and swipe long before we consider why they're doing what they're doing. Sometimes, our fingers make mistakes. We, though, can generally erase and correct.

That option seems not to have been available to a member of the South Korean navy who managed to push the wrong button at the wrong time, with costly results.

As the Yonhap news agency reports, the navy was performing a routine mission over the East Sea (also known as the Sea of Japan) on Sunday when a substantial amount of its weaponry went south.

It seems that a P-3CK anti-submarine and maritime surveillance plane suffered a human mishap.

"One of the plane's crew mistakenly touched the emergency weapons release switch," an official source told Yonhap.

What was the damage? Three Harpoon missiles, a torpedo and depth charges were sent to the depths. They don't appear to have hit anyone or anything. However, the navy took a financial hit.

A Harpoon missile retails at around $1.2 million. Your average torpedo -- the South Korean navy often uses the Chung Sang Eo model -- could cost almost a million. Add the cost of the depth charges and there goes something close to $5 million.

Attempts to contact the Korean navy were unsuccessful, however Yonhap reported that the weapons weren't armed and that a salvage ship and a minesweeper had been sent to locate them.

I wonder what happened to the button-pusher when the plane returned to base.