Posted BY: Kristinn Taylor

A video went viral on Twitter this week reportedly taken by a Cathay Pacific passenger jet pilot moments after the jet was allegedly alerted to take evasive action to avoid a surprise Chinese submarine ballistic missile launch in the South China Sea. While some commenters posted a copy of an advance notice by the Chinese military, others pointed out the notice only prohibited sailing in the exercise area–not aircraft.

Cathay Pacific issued a statement to The War Zone denying any incident involving their planes as seen in the video (the Pentagon did not comment to the War Zine about the video):

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“Thanks for checking. There is no record of such an occurrence involving any of our flights,” the airline’s Corporate Affairs said in an initial statement.

“Our response addressed your enquiry [sic] relating to the recent video,” the office added in response to follow-up questions about the date ranges of the records consulted and whether they covered flights operating outside of the South China Sea region.

Cathay Pacific is based in Hong Kong.

“A fellow Airline Pilot friend just sent me this from one of his colleagues at a foreign airline. They were over the South China Sea & were issued a last-minute hectic call from ATC: “turn left 90 degrees immediately!!” Chinese sea launched ballistic missile from a PLAN Submarine!…To their bewilderment, they spotted a SLBM emerging from the sea below their previously intended flight path!! PLAN Missile Submarine launch with very little regard to Commercial Air Traffic in the area!! That would’ve been me on the ‘delivery end’ of that Missile 30 years ago!” (A posting to Facebook of the video said the video was filmed by a Cathay Pacific crew member.)

“The last four words“禁止驶入”literally means “sailing prohibited”. Completely different meaning from “flying prohibited” or “no fly zone”.”

In 2017, Cathay Pacific reported a plane spotted the reentry of a North Korean ballistic missile launch (CNBC excerpt):

The crew of Cathay Pacific CX893, which was traveling to Hong Kong from San Francisco, reportedly saw the missile from their plane as it was passing over Japan and alerted the country’s air traffic control.

“On November 29, the flight crew of CX893 reported a sighting of what is suspected to be the re-entry of the recent DPRK test missile. Though the flight was far from the event location, the crew advised Japan ATC (air traffic control) according to procedures,” Cathay Pacific told CNBC in an emailed statement.

“Operation(s) remained normal and was not affected,” the company added.

Reporting the story Monday, the South China Morning Post added that the airline’s General Manager of Operations Mark Hoey had posted on a staff communication platform that: “The crew of CX893 reported, ‘Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location.’”

“We advised ATC and ops [operations] normal.” Hoey added, according to the paper.