Crew members aboard a passenger jet have claimed they saw a North Korean ballistic missile re-entering Earth’s atmosphere during the repressive state’s latest test firing, according to The Independent.
Staff on a Cathay Pacific flight said they observed “what is suspected to be the re-entry” of the projectile over Japan last Wednesday. The Hong Kong carrier said “the flight was far from the event location,” however, and it was not planning to change its routes.
In a statement to The Independent, it added: “We have been in contact with relevant authorities and industry bodies as well as with other carriers.
“At the moment, no one is changing any routes or operating parameters.
“We remain alert and review the situation as it evolves.” Pyongyang was believed to have tested a new, more advanced intercontinental ballistic missile in last week’s launch, the Hwasong-15.
Its lofted trajectory took it up to 2,800 miles into space, 10 times further from Earth than the International Space Station. Following the launch, South Korea and the United States launched large-scale joint aerial drills on Monday.
The annual “Vigilant Ace” exercise will run all week and will include F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters. It has been condemned as provocative by the North, which views such drills as practice for war.
The reported sighting of the Hwasong re-entry vehicle by staff on board flight CX893 from San Francisco to Hong Kong would not be the first observation of a space launch from a commercial airliner.