MIAMI (CBSMiami) — North Korea’s recent missile test came dangerously close to an Air France jet.
The missile landed in the Sea of Japan, where a plane with hundreds of people aboard had flown by just minutes earlier.
Pentagon officials say the latest missile test by North Korea presented the biggest potential threat yet perhaps capable of hitting the U.S. mainland as far away as New York. Even though it was an unarmed missile, it still put civilians in harm’s way.
“They absolutely are creating danger to commercial air space,” said CBS News National Transportation Safety Expert Mark Rosenkur.
At 9:55 a.m. EST on Friday, Air France flight 293 took off from Tokyo headed to Paris. About 45 minutes later, North Korea launched its missile which climbed to more than 2,000 miles into the air.
While the missile was in flight, so was the Air France jet with 332 people aboard. The plane’s flight path took it about 100 miles off the coast of Japan – the same area where the missile landed some 10 minutes later.
Air France issued a statement saying, “North Korea’s missile test zones do not interfere in any way with Air France flight paths. We constantly analyze potentially dangerous fly over zones and adapt our flight plans accordingly.”
Rosenkur says the global aviation system isn’t prepared for an unexpected missile launch.
“I don’t believe that air traffic control would have the capacity to be able to warn a commercial air craft that a missile was in its flight path,” said Rosenkur.
The U.S. responded to North Korea’s latest missile test by conducting a test launch of its own over the weekend as well as a joint exercise with South Korea and Japan. On Monday… President Trump promised to hold North Korea accountable.
“We’re gonna be able to handle them. It will be handled,” said President Trump.
Japan’s ambassador to the United Nations says he expects the organization to draft a new sanctions resolution against North Korea within days.