North Korea's recent missile test came dangerously close to an Air France passenger jet. The plane flew by just minutes earlier with hundreds of people on board. So WUSA9 is asking if you’re at risk the next time you fly.
At 9:55 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, Air France flight 293 took off from Tokyo bound for Paris. About 45 minutes later, North Korea launched its missile which climbed 2,000 miles in the air. While the missile was in flight so was the Air France jet, 332 people were on board.
The plane’s flight path took it 100 miles off the coast of Japan, the same area where the missile landed some ten 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.”
ICAO, the organization that oversees international airspace, told airlines not to fly near North Korea. It released a warning map. But the missile came down outside the warning area.
Remember, missiles have brought down airliners. A Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine three years ago.
The United States sends out news releases and warnings before similar missile tests. CBS News National Transportation Safety Expert Mark 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.
Big jets can have anti-missile systems on board, but many do not. They’re expensive and usually reserved for much more sensitive flights, such as Air Force One.