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Flight Crew Saw North Korean Missile Break Apart, says Airline Executive

Cathay Pacific crew saw North Korean missile from plane, airline says

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

North Korea does not typically announce their missile tests, which catch the world by surprise.

The missiles "are predominantly re-entering into Japanese airspace", Flight Service Bureau, a Florida-based aviation consulting firm, said in August.

Flight trackers place the plane near Japan when the missile was launched on November 29.

The pilots of two Korean Air flights reported flashes of light in North Korea at the time of last Tuesday's test of the new Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon that could theoretically range all of the continental U.S. Cathay Pacific flight CX893 claimed to have seen the weapon explode and break apart, according to the South China Morning Post.

While North Korea has claimed that their new weapon has put all parts of the United States within reach of a devastating strike, US officials say the latest test was a failure since the missile broke apart on re-entry as the airliner witnessed.

The sighting was reported to air traffic controllers in Japan, and the flight's "operation remained normal and was not affected", the airline said.

At the moment, there are no plans to change the airline's flight routes following the incident. "We remain alert and (will) review the situation as it evolves".

South Korea said its northern neighbor regularly fails to issue notices to airmen (NOTAM) when conducting missile launches. Its new Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile is larger and more powerful than previous missiles and credibly able to carry a nuclear warhead.

"Coupled with the rogue regime's need to master missile guidance and targeting, the re-entry failure underscores the challenges facing the country's weapons program, according to the official".

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff speak to the press about the situation in North Korea at the White House in Washington, D.C. on September 3, 2017.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said he still had confidence in diplomatic efforts to address the North Korea situation, but that the US also has military options available.

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

"We're not going to let this insane man in North Korea have the capability to hit the homeland", he said.