The crew of a Cathay Pacific flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong reported seeing a North Korean ballistic missile break up and fall out of the sky last week, the airline has said, highlighting an unforeseen danger of the North’s weapons tests.
Flight trackers put the plane close to Japan around the time of Pyongyang’s Hwasong-15 missile test on 29 November. The missile fell into the Sea of Japan.
“The flight crew of #CX893 reported a sighting of what is suspected to be the re-entry of the recent DPRK test missile,” an airline spokesman said, referring the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “Though the flight was far from the event location, the crew advised Japan [air traffic control] according to procedures.”
The flight was not affected and the company has no plans to change existing routes, the airline said.
A Cathay Pacific cargo plane #CX96 may have been even closer to the missile, at a lateral distance of a few hundred metres according to a report.
That flight was bound for Alaska and was also over Japan at the time of the missile test.