PH Space Agency: North Korean rocket debris may have fallen east off Samar

People watch a TV screen reporting a North Korea’s missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, in this file photo taken on Sept. 15, 2017. South Korea’s military said North Korea fired an unidentified missile from its capital Pyongyang that flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. AP File Photo / Ahn Young-joon

MANILA, Philippines — Debris from a rocket launched from North Korea may have fallen in the waters east of Samar, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) reported on Friday. 

According to the PhilSA, the debris of the Chollima-1 space rocket which was launched on November 21 was projected to have fallen in drop zones approximately 237 nautical miles (NM) away from San Policarpio, Samar, and 248 NM from Mercedes, Samar. 

“The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) confirms the launch of the Chollima-1 space rocket of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Expected debris from the rocket launch was projected to have fallen within the identified drop zones approximately 237 NM away from San Policarpio, Samar and 248 NM from Mercedes, Samar,” PhilSA said. 


The agency also said that there is no risk of falling debris within Philippine territory, but the debris may wash up on the coasts in the future. 


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“As the launch event has passed, there is no longer any risk of untoward incidents and damage from falling debris within Philippine territory. However, there is still the possibility that the discarded rocket debris may float around the drop zone area and may wash toward the nearby coasts in the future,” it added. 


It likewise told the public to notify local authorities if the debris is sighted, and that picking them up may cause health risks from toxic substances such as rocket fuel. 

“PhilSA informs the public to contact local authorities if suspected debris is sighted. PhilSA also cautions against retrieving or coming in close contact with these materials that may contain remnants of toxic substances such as rocket fuel,” it said. 

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