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

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The crew of the Cathay Pacific Airways flight says they witnessed the rogue nation's latest weapon break apart and explode as it traveled through the sky early Wednesday morning on November 29.

The Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated a greater range than other missiles North Korea has tested.

"A Korean Air jet flying to Incheon from San Francisco reported to Japanese controllers that its flight crew saw a flash from what was believed to be the North Korean missile", a Korean Air spokesman said.

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The missile soared 2,800 miles into space without any apparent issue, but it is unclear how the weapon performed during atmospheric re-entry, as views within the intelligence community appear to vary.

A North Korean ballistic missile was seen by the crew of several airliners last week, aviation authorities said on Wednesday, raising concerns about the threat to civilian flights posed by Pyongyang's unannounced tests.

The North Korean missile was sacked very high up, reaching an altitude of 4,475 kilometers (2,780 miles) before falling back into the Sea of Japan about 950 kilometers (600 miles) from where it was launched.

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The Cathay plane didn't travel over that part of the sea either, according to flight tracking data. Korean Air hasn't specified how close its flight was to the missile.

"We do take the matter seriously and are monitoring the situation very closely and will reroute our flight paths where necessary", a Cathay Pacific spokesperson added.

According to the Committee of chiefs of staffs of armed forces of South Korea, the missile launched from the landfill in the North Korean city of Pinson in the province's toll.

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South Korea says Pyongyang regularly fails to issue notices to airmen when conducting missile launches. North Korea joined the ICAO in 1977, but the last time it warned the organization of an impending missile launch was in February 2016. The chances are "billions to one", aviation safety analyst David Soucie told CNN.

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