Airplane Flight Crew Gets Front Row Seat To North Korean Missile Test

An airline spokeswoman confirmed on Sunday that the crew on CX893 had made a report about the suspected sighting on November 29. SCMP

An airline spokeswoman confirmed on Sunday that the crew on CX893 had made a report about the suspected sighting on November 29. SCMP

Cathay Pacific Airlines, whose main hub is based out of the Hong Kong International Airport, confirmed that one of its crews witnessed on November 29 "what is suspected to be the re-entry" of the missile into the Earth's atmosphere, the broadcaster reported.

Cathay Pacific also reported that one of its crews flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong reported witnessing the apparent re-entry of the ICBM.

The South China Morning Post reports that the airline's general manager of operations Mark Hoey posted on the internal company communications platform to warn colleagues of the flight's proximity to the missile.

Captains with two South Korean flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles also witnessed flashes apparently from the launch near Pyongyang, the Morning Post reported.

Earlier this year, Air France imposed a no-fly zone over North Korea after one of its flights flew past the site of Pyongyang's July 28 missile test over Japan.

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

While airlines can reroute flight paths to avoid such incidents, according to SCMP, Cathay Pacific said neither it nor other carriers were "changing any routes or operating parameters" at the moment. "We remain alert and (will) review the situation as it evolves".

Its new Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile is larger and more powerful than previous missiles and credibly able to carry a nuclear warhead.

North Korea's last missile launch marked a major evolution in the communist country's ballistic missile program.

Analysts say it is unclear whether the missile survived re-entry into the earth's atmosphere or could successfully deliver a warhead to its target - key technological hurdles for Pyongyang.

The details of the test remain unclear, with a US official saying the missile did not manage to make a re-entry into the earth atmosphere - the key problem of the rogue communist country's nuclear program.

North Korea has long objected against joint drills by the two allies, with Pyongyang's ambassador to the United Nations ruling out negotiations with Washington in November, citing America's "hostile policy" against his country and continuing joint exercises.

"It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they've taken". Experts said it could have reached any part of continental US.

"We're not going to let this insane man in North Korea have the capability to hit the homeland", he said.

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