09/13/2013 01:33 EDT | Updated 11/12/2013 05:12 EST

Jeon Wook-pyo, South Korean Crewman Abducted By North Korea, Escapes

South Korean soldiers walk to take their positions prior to businessmen returning from the Kaesong industrial complex on the border with North Korea, at a South Korean checkpoint in Paju on July 10, 2013. North and South Korea started talks on July 10 on reopening a jointly run industrial zone, Seoul's Unification Ministry said, with the complex seen as the last remaining symbol of cross-border reconciliation. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones (Photo credit should read Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)
SEOUL, South Korea - A South Korean man abducted by North Korea has escaped and returned home after 41 years.

Choi Sung-yung of the Abductees' Family Union said Friday that 68-year-old Jeon Wook-pyo escaped last month and returned to South Korea in early September. Choi said Jeon was one of 25 crewmen on board two boats captured by North Korea in the Yellow Sea in 1972.

Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk confirmed to reporters that the man who escaped was in South Korea, but provided no other details.

Choi said Jeon was the only one of the crewmen to have successfully escaped.

South Korea estimates that more than 500 South Koreans have been kidnapped and detained by North Korea since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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