Airline Crew Says They Saw North Korean Test Missile Re-Enter Atmosphere

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"Currently, our flight routings do not transverse in the vicinity of the missile trajectory as we have taken earlier steps to avoid the northern part of the Sea of Japan", the airline told Business Insider in a statement. Cathay Pacific's crew reported seeing the weapon re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, while Korean Air said its pilots "saw a flash".

The airline changed the route back in July after a previous North Korean missile test, according to CNN Money. However, South Korea says that the North Korean government regularly fails to issue these notices when conducting missile launches.

Four minutes later another Korean Air plane on a Los Angeles-Incheon flight also reported the same sighting to Japanese control, he said.


The organization condemned the Pyongyang regime in October for its repeated launch of ballistic missiles. However, it said it would not be changing any routes as a result of the incident.

Wednesday's missile test reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile and the state-run Korean Central News Agency claims it's capable of reaching the U.S. In response to the test last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on China to do more to rein in North Korea, specifically through restraining the country's oil supply.

European airlines Lufthansa and Air France-KLM shifted their paths in August after two North Korean test launches in July.


It is very unlikely that a plane would be hit by a random missile, though.

Monday's air exercise between the US and South Korea, called Vigilant Ace, will last for five days.

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. That plan would see the drills suspended in exchange for Pyongyang halting its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.


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