North Korean Missile Reportedly Seen by Cathay Pacific Crew Members Over Japan

By Aishwarya Rai, International News Editor

On December 4, Cathay Pacific crew members flying over Japan reported what is suspected to have been a North Korean missile test, on its re-entry into earth’s atmosphere.

Mark Hoey, Cathay’s general manager of operation told staff that “the crew of CX893 reported, ‘Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location,’ according to the South China Morning Post. The missile was apparently also seen by two South Korean aircrafts that were traveling to Seoul from the U.S.

This missile launch highlights the issue with North Korea’s unannounced missile tests, which is not the normal practice with most countries given the threat it can pose to planes. However, Pyongyang does have access to international civil aviation data, thus, it can plan it’s launches based on information from the data. Nonetheless, North Korea had a similar encounter on July 28 when an Air France flight passed just by a missile test splashdown site, around five to ten minutes before the missile hit the water

On November 29, North Korea tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile, called the “Hwasong-15,” which the nation stated had a range that could reach any location in the United States. North Korea has seen South Korea and the U.S’ joint air exercise, the biggest one yet, as an “all-out provocation,” and a sign that the U.S. was “begging for nuclear war.” One of their air exercises, “Vigilant Ace,” lasted for five days, and included around 230 aircrafts counting in two dozen stealth jets and tens of thousands of individuals from both nation’s militaries.


A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 12th print edition.

Contact Aishwarya at


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