Air crew saw North Korea missile re-enter atmosphere

Hwasong-15 test

Earlier in October, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had condemned North Korea for the repeated launching of ballistic missiles.

In a leaked internal memo, the airline's general manager for operations, Mark Hoey, told the staff, "Today [date unspecified] the crew of CX893 reported, 'Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location.'" The Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK, is the official name for North Korea.

A report from the Yonhap News Agency said the captain of a Korean Air flight approaching South Korea's Incheon Airport from San Francisco reported to ground control that he had seen a flash about one hour after the North Korean missile launched, The Telegraph reported.

"Singapore Airlines is aware of the reports on the sighting of the North Korean missiles and is closely monitoring the situation", a spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.

"At the moment, no one is changing any routes or operating parameters", the airline said in a statement via the AP.

Given the arbitrary nature of the tests, it is possible that a North Korean missile could hit an airplane traveling through airspace near the launch site.

Korean Air said it was unclear how far the apparent missile re-entry was from its own planes, whose flights originated in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

A Cathay spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post that its crew on CX893 made a report on November 29 about the sighting, believing it was a missile tested by North Korea at 2:18 a.m. Hong Kong time.

In October, the ICAO condemned Pyongyang for its continued launching of ballistic missiles and urged the country to comply with global aviation standards.

Cathay Pacific flight CX893 was making its way over Japan when Pyongyang fired the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile.

Pyongyang boasted that the weapon was capable of hitting the US mainland.

The operators insist the missile flew far from the flight's path and at no point posed a threat to the aircraft.

"It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they've taken".

According to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), that is a comment that needs to be taken seriously.

Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham said Sunday on "Face the Nation" that preemptive war in North Korea is "becoming more likely" as the country's improving missile technology presents an increasing threat.

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