Jet passed within 10 minutes of where North Korean missile test landed, official says
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A commercial airliner flew past the location where North Korea’s July 4 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) would land in the Sea of Japan less than 10 minutes later, according to a U.S. official.
Flight data from the time of the ICBM’s landing on Friday indicates that the aircraft that was potentially in danger was Air France flight 293, traveling from Tokyo to Paris with 323 people on board.
The plane’s flight path shows the Boeing 777 traveling west of Hokkaido as the North Korean ICBM was airborne.
The Japanese Defense Ministry said the ICBM landed about 93 miles northwest of Okushiri Island. In the 10 minutes before the ICBM hit the water, the Air France flight had only traveled about 90 miles north, according to ABC News’ analysis.
In a statement to ABC News, Air France said 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 reported incident.”
“Moreover, in cooperation with the authorities, Air France constantly analyzes potentially dangerous flyover zones and adapts its flight plans accordingly,” the statement continued.
But the Pentagon has already expressed concern over the potential danger a missile could pose to commercial aircraft in the region.
“This missile flew through busy airspace used by commercial airliners,” said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis after North Korea’s July 4 ICBM test. “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.”
The U.S. typically issues a press release before it conducts a missile test. Earlier today, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs issued a warning that Air Force Global Strike Command would launch an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile on Wednesday.
North Korea does not issue such releases.
Friday’s ICBM test, which was North Korea’s second ever, was determined to not pose a threat to North America by the U.S. military.
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