Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Air crew saw North Korea missile re-enter atmosphere

Air crew saw North Korea missile re-enter atmosphere

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. "This creates a new risk to civil aviation".

Cathay said it does not have images of video of the incident.

Korean Air said it was unclear how far the apparent missile re-entry was from its own planes, whose flights originated in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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 should be noted though that if the latest test of the Hwasong-15 ICBM failed on re-entry, it did so on a lofted trajectory.

The flight "remained normal", the airline said.

Since the North Korea regime does not announce its missiles tests and does not have access to global civil aviation data, the launches come without warning for commercial airliners and pose a potential risk to planes, the BBC News noted.

"It is something to be concerned about", said Peter Harbison, executive chairman of CAPA - Center for Aviation, a consultancy in Sydney, Australia.

Both Cathay Pacific and Korean Air said they were not taking any new precautions in response to the apparent sightings.

"We have been in contact with relevant authorities and industry bodies as well as with other carriers".

The Singapore Airlines has said that the rerouting had not affected its planes as they have been doing it since July this year.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff speak to the press about the situation in North Korea at the White House in Washington, D.C. on September 3, 2017.

North Korea's missile testing, which is often conducted without prior notice as required under worldwide agreements, has caused some concern for commercial airlines.

The U.S. and South Korea began Monday a massive combined air force exercise in the wake of the threats from the North.

United States carriers have always been banned from flying over most of North Korea because of the risk of planes being targeted by the North's military. At the time of the splashdown, the flight was about 60 to 70 miles (95 to 112 kilometers) north of where the missile landed, according to a review of the data.

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