Crew Saw DPRK Missile Test on Cathay Pacific Flight from HK

Crew Saw DPRK Missile Test on Cathay Pacific Flight from HK

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

The crew members notified Japanese air traffic control officials of their suspected sighting of the missile's re-entry.

The cargo plane - CX096 - may have been even closer to the missile, at a lateral distance of a few hundred metres, added Hoey.

Civic Party's Tam said although Cathay Pacific claimed its nearest aircraft was several hundred miles away, or more than half an hour's flight, from the explosion, the threat can not be ruled out, especially if North Korea does not announce its missile launches.

"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.

Chunks of the missile plunged into the sea last week as the twin-jet Airbus cruised at an altitude of 39,000 feet off the coast of Japan.

The flight was cruising over Japan when the North Korean missile was launched. The planes were on their way to Incheon International Airport near the south Korean capital of Seoul, en route from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Cathay Pacific told the Guardian.

North Korea released an image of the November 29 launch of its most powerful ballistic missile yet.

Pyongyang was believed to have tested a new, more advanced intercontinental ballistic missile in last week's launch, the Hwasong-15.

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.

Such notices are issued to warn pilots and airlines of potential risks during their flights.

On July 28, an Air France flight passed just east of the splashdown site of a missile test, roughly five to 10 minutes before the weapon hit the water.

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). Experts said it could have reached any part of continental US.