Cathay flight crew 'saw' North Korea missile from plane

04la2p10

04la2p10

Crew members aboard a passenger jet have claimed they saw a North Korean ballistic missile re-entering Earth's atmosphere during the repressive state's latest test firing.

The flight was not affected, according to the notice, which also revealed a cargo flight, CX096 from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, was in fact even closer to the location of the missile explosion.

"Operation remained normal and was not affected", the statement said. Though the flight was far from the event location, the crew advised Japan ATC (air traffic control) according to procedures.

While Cathay Pacific's flight last week wasn't impacted, and there is generally a low chance that a North Korean missile will hit a plane, experts say Pyongyang's missile tests could still endanger future commercial flights.

Last week, the North Korean regime tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) - the first such test in over two months - that could potentially reach any city within the U.S. The regime praised the missiles as its "most powerful".

In a message shared with staff, Cathay general manager Mark Hoey said the crew had described seeing the missile "blow up and fall apart", the South China Morning Post reported.

North Korea released an image of the November 29 launch of its most powerful ballistic missile yet.

Hong Kong's carrier thus becomes the second airline to report sighting it.

The operators insist the missile flew far from the flight's path and at no point posed a threat to the aircraft. It was over Japan when the missile was launched, according to flight trackers.

CAD and the Security Bureau should discuss with ICAO whether it is necessary for Cathay Pacific to change its flight path in the area in question, Tam said.

The new ICBM, named the Hwasong-15, crash landed in the Sea of Japan early last Wednesday morning after flying 950 kilometers and reaching an altitude of almost 4,500 kilometers (higher than any of its predecessors).

Defense Secretary James Mattis said he still had confidence in diplomatic efforts to address the North Korea situation, but that the US also has military options available.

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