The North Korean soldier who endured a volley of bullets from his former comrades as he crossed the border into South Korea has regained consciousness and is expected to survive, reports the BBC. In fact, the soldier asked to watch South Korean television upon waking and is now recuperating in the hospital with movies from the South. Hospital staff also hung a South Korean flag in his room to boost his morale. "We believe the most life-threatening moment has now passed," says a government official.
The still-unidentified soldier was shot five or six times in the elbow, shoulder, and abdomen as he made the risky crossing over the DMZ, reports the Yonhap news agency. He had to cover the final stretch on foot because of a problem with a wheel on his vehicle. In addition to his physical ailments—doctors found parasites, too—officials say the patient is suffering from "heavy stress," and authorities plan to wait longer before conducting an official debriefing. Most defectors from the North cross the border into China rather than brave the heavily patrolled DMZ. (Read more North Korea stories.)