US briefly halted west coast flights after North Korea missile test: FAA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Takeoffs at some airports in the western United States have been temporarily suspended after North Korea fired a ballistic missile, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday (Jan.11).

“As a precaution, the FAA temporarily suspended departures from some West Coast airports on Monday evening,” the FAA said in a statement about the rare action.

“Full operations resumed in less than 15 minutes. The FAA regularly takes precautionary measures,” he said.

The agency, which governs commercial and private aviation, did not directly link the shutdown to the North Korean missile, and the U.S. military said it did not order the action.

But when asked about the North Korean launch and the airports, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki replied, “I think it was a 15-minute ground stop and they did so out of prudence. “

The FAA “will assess its approach in the future,” she said.

The shutdown appears to have been ordered just minutes after the launch, which took place around 10:27 p.m. GMT on Monday, or 5:27 p.m. on the West Coast, Pacific Standard Time.

The second test launch in a week by the nuclear-weapon North Korea was reportedly a short-range ballistic missile that plunged into the sea east of the Korean Peninsula after traveling 700 km, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The missile reached an altitude of 60 km and a speed of Mach 10, ten times the speed of sound.

Public reports on social media showed that planes preparing for take-off were ordered to stop in place at several airports in the western United States before the order was canceled.

In a recording posted online, a Burbank air traffic controller is heard telling a pilot to land because “some kind of national security issue is going on.”

Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz said in a tweet that his flight to Reno, Nevada, just east of the northern California border, was also held down for about 20 minutes.

It is not known exactly how the alert was triggered. A spokesman for the Pentagon’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) said he did not issue an alert after the launch. US intelligence services can detect such events immediately using satellites monitoring the area.

“Certainly on our part, the launch of the missile would have been detected and assessed as no threat to Canada or the United States, and therefore no warning was issued,” said the spokesperson for Norad.

The United States has improved its defense readiness since Pyongyang demonstrated in tests in 2017 that it has potentially intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the continental United States.

On January 13, 2018, Hawaii went on high alert for a possible nuclear ballistic missile attack, with residents urged to seek immediate shelter, after a spurious emergency warning was issued and triggered panic. statewide.

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