Airliner Witnessed North Korean Missile Test

Hwasong-15 test

Cathay Pacific Airlines, whose main hub is based out of the Hong Kong International Airport, confirmed that one of its crews witnessed on November 29 "what is suspected to be the re-entry" of the missile into the Earth's atmosphere, the broadcaster reported. The flight crew reported the incident about the suspected sighting at 2.18am Hong Kong time meaning the pilots could have watched the re-entry of the missile into the atmosphere.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Mark Hoey sent a statement to the staff stating "today the crew of CX893 reported, 'Be advised, we witnessed the [North Korean] missile blow up and fall apart near our current location, '" according to the South China Morning Post.

North Korean missile tests in the past several months have led to tensions with the US, 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".

Airline pilots from three aircrafts saw the North Korean missile that was sacked last week re-enter Earth's atmosphere and break up, according to the BBC News.

"Though the flight was far from the event location, the crew advised Japan ATC [air traffic control] according to [the] procedure", said a spokeswoman for the airline. After the North launched dozens of rockets and ballistic missiles that year, South Korea complained to the United Nations Security Council and global aviation and maritime organizations about the lack of warning.

A spokesman said on Monday that the flight crew of CX893 had reported a suspected sighting of Pyongyang's latest missile test. "Operation remained normal and was not affected", the statement said.

The move came after the July 27 missile launch by North Korea into the Sea of Japan, Singapore Airlines said on Tuesday (Dec 5) in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia.

Various other commercial airlines have become cautious due to the North Korea's missile testing as it doesn't comply with the global agreements of giving a prior notice before conducting a test. But he said that while such missiles posed a danger to commercial flights, the risk was "low in terms of probability".

But North Korea's tendency to launch without warning is "worrying", he added.

But if a ballistic missile were to come close to a passenger jet, it would be almost impossible for the crew to detect, a Hong Kong-based pilot told CNN in August in the aftermath of that missile test.

President Donald Trump has said that the United States would handle the North Korean situation, but did not specify details.

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