PYONGYANG: A North Korea-n missile suffered an embarrassing fail when it reportedly crashed into one of its own cities just minutes after a launch, a report has said.
According to the Japanese magazine The Diplomat, North Korea’s test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) on April 28 last year crash-landed in the city of Tokchon and caused heavy damage to several buildings.
The rocket was launched from a military airbase in South Pyongan but its engines reportedly failed just a minute into the flight.
The government source, according to the report, could not say if anyone was injured or killed in the blast but satellite photos of the area revealed the scope of the impact as well as damage to a nearby greenhouse. The accident in Tokchon was reportedly the third failed test of a Hwasong-12 missile that same month.
The missile likely exploded on impact, causing significant damage to a complex of industrial or agricultural buildings, The Diplomat magazine reported, citing a US intelligence source alongside satellite imagery.
After its launch from the Pukchang airfield, the missile flew approximately 24 miles to the north-east, the report stated, adding that it flew no higher than around 43 miles.
Liquid-fuel missiles can cause massive explosions when they fail, and satellite images from Google Earth taken after the test show a cleared area where a building once stood and damage to a greenhouse caused by debris.
However, as the publication pointed out, it is impossible to verify whether the accidental strike caused any deaths due to the secretive nature of the North Korean regime.
The report also warned that the North’s newly constructed tunnels, hangars and storage sites mean its missiles won’t be “sitting ducks” easily targeted on known launch pads.
The Diplomat article comes as Japan’s Prime Minister warned that the security situation facing his country is the most perilous since the Second World War because of North Korea’s “unacceptable provocations”.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that the security environment surrounding Japan is at its severest since World War Two,” Shinzo Abe said, as he vowed to bolster the country’s defences and protect the Japanese people.
“By raising pressure on North Korea, together with the international community, I intend to do my utmost to solve North Korea’s nuclear, missiles and abduction issues.”