Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Cathay Pacific Crew 'saw North Korean Missile'

Cathay Pacific Crew 'saw North Korean Missile'

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific said today that one of its air crews spotted what they believed to be the missile fired by North Korea last week, as they flew between the southern Chinese city and the United States.

North Korea launched the missile in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Nov. 28 as a flight by the Hong Kong-based airline crossed the Pacific from San Francisco to Hong Kong.

The flight was far enough from the missile test not to be in danger, but The Guardian says the incident highlights the "unforeseen danger" of North Korea's tests.

"At the moment, no one is changing any routes or operating parameters", the airline said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Cathay Pacific crew saw North Korean missile from plane, airline says
Airline crew on flight from US to Hong Kong witnessed North Korea missile test

The company would remain alert and review the situation as it evolved, the spokeswoman told South China Morning Post.

North Korea, like other countries, has access to worldwide civil aviation data so scientists can study the airspace they are about to send their missile into and determine which area is the least populated.

A plane takes off near the control tower at San Francisco International Airport on February 25, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif.

The report from the crew of the Hong Kong-bound flight out of San Francisco suggests that North Korea's latest missile test may not have been as successful as Pyongyang asserted in its state media reports.

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CNN said the initial analysis of the missile by officials revealed that it likely involved a two-stage missile with a non-explosive dummy warhead.

But analysts note the missile would require a re-entry vehicle that could withstand the heat and pressure of descent to deliver an intact nuclear warhead to the ground.

The launch of the Hwasong-15, the missile North Korea tested last Wednesday.

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

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The isolated and impoverished North has staged six increasingly powerful atomic tests since 2006 - most recently in September - which have rattled Washington and its key regional allies South Korea and Japan. "It's a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world".

As tensions surged, US Senator Lindsey Graham, an influential Republican and foreign policy hawk, warned that the US was moving closer to "preemptive war" with the North.

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