Crew members aboard a 15-hour flight were startled last week when they saw what is believed to be the re-entry of a North Korean missile into earth’s atmosphere.
The crew witnessed the missile fall out of the sky as the Cathay Pacific flight— from San Francisco to Hong Kong— flew over Japan. The company said they witnessed “a sighting of what is suspected to be the re-entry of the recent DPRK [North Korea] test missile,” the Guardian reports.
The company said they witnessed “a sighting of what is suspected to be the re-entry of the recent DPRK [North Korea] test missile,” the Guardian reports.
Flight trackers place the plane close to Japan around the time of North Korea’s Hwasong-15 missile test on Nov. 29. The missile, which Pyongyang claims to be its “most powerful,” crashed into the Sea of Japan.
South Korea’s military says the missile flew ten times higher than the International Space Station. “Though the flight was far from the event location, the crew advised Japan [air traffic control] according to procedures.” Cathay Pacific told the Guardian.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the company’s general manger of operations Mark Hoey told Cathay Pacific staff in a message that “the crew of CX893 reported, ‘Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location.’”
He added, according to SCMP, that one of their cargo planes may have been even closer to the missile. North Korean tests post a potential risk to planes as it rarely issues warnings of the launches or its missiles’ intended flight path.