North Korea missile 'seen by Cathay Pacific airline crew'


The airline rerouted its daily flights between the South Korean capital Seoul and Los Angeles after a North Korean missile launch in July, the report said quoting a spokesperson for Singapore Airlines.

US officials told CNN that the re-entry vehicle likely failed during North Korea's most recent missile test, and the crew of a Cathay Pacific flight claims to have seen the missile explode during re-entry, although David Wright, a senior physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, suspects that the crew actually saw stage separation and second-stage ignition during the ascent.

Flight paths in the region are drawingattention after two other Asian carriers said that some of their pilots believe they saw anotherballistic missile North Korea tested last week.

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.

According to the South China Morning Post, Cathay's general manager of operations Mark Hoey told staff in a message that "today the crew of CX893 reported, "Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location".

The airline went on to state that it informed authorities and other carriers at the time.

Minutes later, the pilot of another Korean Air plane reported seeing a similar flash of light, airline spokesman Cho Hyun-mook said, as cited by AP. "At the moment, no one is changing any routes or operating parameters", Cathay said. "We remain alert and (will) review the situation as it evolves".

Korean carrier Asiana Airlines also changed flight paths on some of its routes between Korea and the United States in 2010 in order to avoid the risk of being hit by an unexpected missile. The report came about one hour after the missile was launched from a site north of Pyongyang, Yonhap reported.

North Korea, which is a member nation of the International Civil Aviation Organization, is required to provide advance notice of any activity that may pose a threat to the safety of civilian aircraft.