Airliner Witnessed North Korean Missile Test

Cathay Pacific crew saw North Korean missile from plane airline says

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia on the safety precautions it was taking, Singapore Airlines said that its planes were not affected as it had already taken steps in July to reroute flight paths.

"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".

"We remain alert and review the situation as it evolves", the airline spokesman said.

In a message shared with staff, Cathay general manager Mark Hoey said the crew had described seeing the missile "blow up and fall apart", the South China Morning Post reported.

Crew members aboard a Hong Kong-bound Cathay Pacific flight from San Francisco saw what they suspected was a North Korean ballistic missile re-entering the Earth's atmosphere last week, the airline has confirmed. The figures tallied with estimates released by Japan and South Korea.

Cathay Pacific said it does not have images or video or the incident.

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On July 28, an Air France flight passed just east of the splashdown site of a missile test, roughly five to 10 minutes before the weapon hit the water.

The isolated and impoverished North has staged six increasingly powerful atomic tests since 2006 - most recently in September - which have rattled Washington and its key regional allies South Korea and Japan.

Guidelines issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency tasked with governing air safety and other matters, state that nations have the "responsibility to issue risk advisories regarding any threats to the safety of civilian aircraft operating in their airspace".

The country has accelerated its missile programme this year, firing 23 missiles in 16 tests since February, according to reports.

He added that a separate Cathay Pacific flight, CX096, "might have been the closest [to the missile test], at a few hundred miles laterally", although there have been no reports from that flight's crew. Numerous airline's global flights have cameras mounted beneath the fuselage the footage of which can be viewed by passengers live from their seats.

CNN aviation safety analyst David Soucie said that the odds of "an unaimed missile striking a plane are 'billions to one.'" However, experts told the network that it would be impossible for crew on a commercial jet to detect the approach of a ballistic missile.

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