Published: Mon, December 04, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Cathay Pacific flight: crew say they saw North Korean missile test

Cathay Pacific flight: crew say they saw North Korean missile test

The crew of a Cathay Pacific flight over Japan saw a North Korean ballistic missile test last week, the airline said.

Without perfecting the "re-entry" technology, such missiles pose little danger as they fall apart before re-entering the Earth.

The crew alerted air traffic controllers in Japan of what they believed was the Hwasong-15's re-entry and continued on its path to Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific's general manager of operations, Mark Joey, recounted the message from the crew of the passenger plane to ground staff.

The airline does not plan on changing its flight path in the future because of the November 29 launch.

It also claimed the Hwasong-15 missile fired Wednesday can be tipped with a "super-large heavy warhead" capable of striking the whole U.S. mainland.

The International Space Station maintains a fraction of that orbit - 254 miles.

Four minutes later, the pilot of another Korean Air aircraft crossing the Sea of Japan inbound from Los Angeles reported a similar flash of light.

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

A Cathay Pacific spokesperson told SCMP that the flight operations remained normal and were unaffected.

The plane, which was flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong, was over Japan at the time.

The North Korean missile was sacked very high up, reaching an altitude of 2,780 miles before falling back into the Sea of Japan about 600 miles from where it was launched.

He said both planes safely landed at Incheon and the missile didn't endanger their safety because the trajectory was far enough from the planes' flight paths.

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).

In another internal notice obtained by Apple Daily, the company said that the incident was extremely rare, citing some experts as saying that chances are low an aircraft can be hit by a missile.

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