Flight crew witnessed North Korean nuclear missile test, airline says

Cathay Pacific crew saw North Korean missile from plane, airline says

Flight crew witnessed North Korean nuclear missile test, airline says

A Cathay Pacific flight crew saw the final moments of North Korea's ballistic missile launch last week, according to the airline.

North Korean state media condemned the exercise, saying the USA was "begging for nuclear war" and will push the region "to the brink of nuclear war", the BBC reported.

Singapore Airlines said they changed the flight's route following North Korea's July 27 missile test, which plummeted into the sea east of the Korean Peninsula, Channel NewsAsia reported. The missile soared to a height of 2,800 miles, ten times higher than the global space station, and then came nearly straight down.

He said the crew had witnessed the missile "blow up and fall apart near our location" and that another Cathay Pacific flight - CX096 between Hong Kong and Anchorage in Alaska - may have been even closer.

The AP reported the missile was in the air for almost an hour and reached an altitude of 2,780 miles before plummeting into the Sea of Japan about 600 miles from its launch point.

Cathay Pacific did not reply to a request for comment by publication time, but in a response sent out earlier to other media, the airline confirmed the incident and responded to the potential threat posed by North Korea's missile tests.

"Though the flight was far from the event location, the crew advised Japan [air traffic control] according to procedures".

A Cathay spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post that its crew on CX893 made a report on November 29 about the sighting, believing it was a missile tested by North Korea at 2:18 a.m. Hong Kong time.

The plane, which was flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong, was over Japan at the time. "We remain alert and (will) review the situation as it evolves".

The launch of the Hwasong-15, the missile North Korea tested last Wednesday. Were the weapon to be fired on a minimum energy trajectory or standard launch trajectory, there is a possibility the re-entry vehicle would survive. "Still, the ability of the new missile to fly higher and longer than others in the past signals the program's intent to develop weapons capable of attacking the U.S.", CNN added.

Regardless of whether or not the test failed on re-entry, the newest missile represents a technological breakthrough for the regime.

The airline said at the time that it was expanding its no-fly zone over North Korea following the close-call.

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