Flight crew witnessed North Korean nuclear missile test, airline says

Flight crew witnessed North Korean nuclear missile test, airline says

Cathay Pacific said the ICBM test didn't come close to the aircraft and it now has no plans to alter operations.

An airplane crew flying over Japan saw North Korea's missile as it plunged back through the atmosphere last week, their airline said, as South Korea and the United States kicked off their largest ever joint air exercise.

A report from the Yonhap News Agency said the captain of a Korean Air flight approaching South Korea's Incheon Airport from San Francisco reported to ground control that he had seen a flash about one hour after the North Korean missile launched, The Telegraph reported.

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia on the safety precautions it was taking, Singapore Airlines said that its planes were not affected as it had already taken steps in July to reroute flight paths.

North Korean missile tests in the past several months have led to tensions with the USA, as President Donald Trump has made multiple threats against the rogue nation and its leader Kim Jong-un, whom Trump has deemed "little rocket man".

Since the North Korea regime does not announce its missiles tests and does not have access to global civil aviation data, the launches come without warning for commercial airliners and pose a potential risk to planes, the BBC News noted.




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

Cathay Pacific flight CX893 was making its way over Japan when Pyongyang fired the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile.

After last week's launch, the rogue state boasted that the weapon was capable of hitting the USA mainland.

While few believe the regime's program is complete, the threat posed by the new missile is significant, warned United States Defense Secretary Gen. Jim Mattis. "It's a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world".

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October condemned North Korea for the repeated launching of ballistic missiles, saying they seriously threatened the safety of international civil aviation. "The president is not going to allow North Korea to have a nuclear weapon in their hands that can hit America", Graham told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on November 29.

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