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Passenger plane flies past North Korea ballistic missile crash site just minutes after test

Wednesday - 02/08/2017 09:45
A French commercial airliner flew past the airspace where North Korea's most recent ballistic missile would land less than 10 minutes after, according to ABC News.

A packed commercial airliner en route to Tokyo flew past the location where North Korea’s test intercontinental ballistic missile crashed into the Sea of Japan less than ten minutes later on Friday night, according to a US official cited by ABC news.

The American channel reported that Air France flight 293, travelling from Paris with 323 passengers on board, passed west of Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island and northernmost prefecture, as the North Korean ICBM was airborne.

Air France says it constantly analyses flight paths
Air France says it constantly analyses flight paths

Shortly afterwards, the missile returned to earth in the same area, landing about 93 miles northwest of nearby Okushiri island.

Footage captured accidentally by the weather camera of a TV station shows a flash as the Hwasong-14 crosses the sky, suggesting that the missile may have broken up as it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere.

In a statement to ABC, the airline said that North Korea’s missile test zones “don’t interfere in any way with Air France’s flight paths,” and that the flight was operated “without any incident.”

It added: “Moreover, in cooperation with the authorities, Air France constantly analyses potentially dangerous flyover zones and adapts its flight plans accordingly.”

North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan - Credit: EPA/KCNA 
North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan Credit: EPA/KCNA 

However, the Pentagon has already cautioned that an unannounced missile test by the rogue regime could pose a potential danger to commercial aircraft and shipping lanes.

Friday’s test was Pyongyang’s second ICBM test in the month of July. Both were conducted in absolute secrecy, with no prior warning about timing or location.

At the time, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis pointed out that the first test on July 4 had been carried out in busy airspace used by commercial airliners.

“It flew into space. It landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, and an area that’s used by commercial and fishing vessels. All of this completely uncoordinated,” he said.

In March 2014, a China Southern Airlines plane carrying over 200 people reportedly flew through the trajectory of another North Korean missile test that had been fired minutes earlier.

According to reports by the South Korean ministry of defence, the flight took off from Japan’s Narita airport en route to Shenyang in China just seven minutes after the launch of the rocket.

“It was a very dangerous situation,” said a defence ministry spokesman.

Source: The Daily Telegraph:

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