North Korea's ballistic missile accidentally hits own city

The test took place in April last year

On April 29, North Korea conducted a third test launch of the Hwasong-12 from the Pukchang airfield in the South Pyongan province, about 45 miles north of the country's capital, a new location, as the missile had previously been test-launched-unsuccessfully-twice before that month from a site near the port city of Sinpo, on the northeastern coast.

That initial minute of boosted flight propelled the missile 39 kilometers away to Tokchon, a city of about 200,000 people in North Korea's interior, according to Panda and Schmerler's investigation.

The launch - from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province - is said to have gone awry soon after takeoff, with a US source telling The Diplomat the missile's "first stage" engines failed after about 60 seconds. The Diplomat magazine quoted a source in the U.S. intelligence wing as saying that the missile exploded on impact and caused extensive damage to industrial and.or agricultural buildings where it crashed.

Satellite imagery scanned by the authors shows damage to industrial or agricultural buildings near a residential area.

But the fiery crash of a North Korean missile into a populated town demonstrates yet another threat posed by Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. The explosion destroyed some 1,850 buildings; death toll estimates range between 160 and 3,000.

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Observers are also anxious that neighboring countries may regard it as an act of provocation or war should North Korean missiles and rockets veer off course and hit unintended foreign targets in South Korea, Japan or even China.

The failed missile launch was widely reported when it happened.

In February 2017, North Korea successfully fired a booster rocket in what was seen by the world as a ballistic missile test, resulting in a new series of sanctions imposed upon Pyongyang by the UN Security Council.

There are claims North Korea may have accidentally hit one of its own cities with a missile.

While both landed in the ocean, this new report of a failed missile test certainly poses the possibility that a failed missile test over Japan could cause grave destruction there. That missile, which North Korea claims can reach the United States, also reportedly failed and broke up on re-entry.

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