The Federal Aviation Authority confirmed Tuesday that it temporarily grounded flights across parts of the West Coast after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile.
The missile was estimated to travel more than 435 miles into the Hermit Kingdom’s eastern sea, reaching a maximum altitude of nearly 40 miles at up to 10 times the speed of sound, according to South Korea’s military.
It appeared to be even more advanced than a “hypersonic” one the north launched less than a week ago, sparking international condemnation and a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
News of the launch immediately sparked FAA orders for a ground stop at airports across the West Coast, which is closest to North Korea.
Radio transmissions from numerous air traffic control commands caught vague details being given to pilots, with one shared by NBC News showing the warning that there was a “national security threat.”
Another air traffic controller in San Diego suggested that it affected “everybody nationwide,” according to the clip played by NBC News.
The FAA on Tuesday confirmed the “ground stop” was ordered around 5:30 p.m. ET Monday, which in Korea was the early hours of Tuesday.
“As a matter of precaution, the FAA temporarily paused departures at some airports along the West Coast on Monday,” a spokesperson confirmed.
“Full operations resumed in less than 15 minutes,” the rep said.
The administration insisted it “regularly takes precautionary measures” and will review the latest one.
The US military’s Indopacific Command said the launch did not pose an “immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies.”
Still, it “highlights the destabilizing impact of North Korea’s illicit weapons program,” the command said.
Monday’s launch came six days after North Korea fired a missile into the sea in what it described as a successful test of a hypersonic missile.
Like last Wednesday’s test, it was appeared to be fired from a site in Jagang Province toward the ocean off its east coast.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it appeared “more advanced than the missile North Korea fired on Jan. 5.”
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida noted the UN had just finished holding discussions on how to respond to last week’s launch.
“That North Korea continues to launch missiles is extremely regrettable,” he told reporters.
With Post wires