North Korea Accidentally Crashed Missile into its Own City: Report

People watch as North Korea's KRT television shows a photo of North Korea's test-launched first ICBM released by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) at the Seoul Railway Station on July 4, 2017, (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
People watch as North Korea's KRT television shows a photo of North Korea's test-launched first ICBM released by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) at the Seoul Railway Station on July 4, 2017, (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

An intermediate-range missile launched by North Korea last April crashed into a town near Pyongyang, possibly causing an explosion and casualties, The Diplomat reported Wednesday.

The IRBM was launched April 28, 2017, near Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province and was the third in a series of failed launches that month, the report said.

The missile crashed into the city of Tokchun after one minute of powered flight, the report said. The explosion caused "considerable damage to a complex of industrial or agricultural buildings," the report said, citing a U.S. government source with knowledge of the program.

The secretive regime makes it nearly impossible to determine the extent of damages. The online magazine theorized that if the missile hit a populated city, the result could have been catastrophic.

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North Korea successfully launched its first flight test of the IRBM last year, using a splashdown location.

North Korea caused alarm when it test-launched missiles over Japanese territory in August and September. The missiles eventually splashed down in the northern Pacific Ocean outside Japanese territory.

North Korea has repeatedly launched missile tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions throughout 2017. When the missiles are launched, they are not accompanied with any formal warning or notice, leaving neighboring countries and the United States left to interpret Pyongyang's intentions.

It is assumed that there are many more unknown facilities that exist throughout North Korea, making the prospect of a first strike that leaves Pyongyang unable to retaliate, more difficult than ever.

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