SEOUL, July 31 (UPI) -- South Korea authorities confirmed a North Korea military aircraft crashed at an airfield in the port city of Wonsan around July 15 and the casualties may have included members of Kim Jong Un's entourage.
The site of the accident is most likely the same place where Kim Jong Un attended an air force tournament held in commemoration of North Korea's July 27 "Victory Day," South Korean television network SBS reported.
An unidentified source in Seoul's military told Yonhap it is likely the crashed plane was an Antonov AN-2, a Soviet-produced plane.
If the aircraft was used in preparation for the aviation tournament, it is possible the casualties on board were members of Kim's security detail, the military source said.
There also is speculation the plane may have been a Cessna jet, in which case the casualties on board may have been North Korean dignitaries inspecting the airfield ahead of the tournament, South Korea press reported.
Pyongyang previously has aired footage of Kim directly operating a Cessna aircraft.
Seoul said North Korea has been adding more AN-2 models to its squadron since March because of their fuel efficiency. The planes however have been connected to two other fatal accidents, and the military source said the accidents may have occurred when the fuselage of the planes were torn as it dove with mounted air-to-surface missiles.
Seoul said North Korea is deliberately concealing the fatalities in order to bolster the Kim regime and avoid exposing flaws in the leadership.