Adding to the growing incidents of pilots spotting unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in the aerospace over international and domestic airports, a Bhubaneshwar-bound Indigo flight was delayed by almost 30 minutes after an Air India pilot informed the Air Traffic Control (ATC) centre about the presence of a drone-like object near Jari Mari slums.
Picture for representation. AFP
The incident occurred around 10.20 am yesterday after the pilot of AI 616 (Hyderabad-Mumbai) informed the ATC centre about spotting a drone-like object in the aerospace. Upon receiving this information, IndiGo flight 6E 553 was asked to return to its bay immediately.
“The pilot brought to the (ATC) notice that while landing at the airport he spotted a flying object. Indigo’s lined up aircraft was asked to hold. It was only after we were sure, the flight was allowed to take off at 10.45 am. This delayed the flight by 25 minutes,” said an ATC official, adding, “A wide variety of aerial lanterns and balloons are being sold at traffic signals. Probably this has increased the sightings of UFOs by pilots. Stringent action is needed against those releasing such objects into the aerospace.”
Speaking to mid-day, an MIAL officer said the Joint Control Centre (JCC), Mumbai, received an alert around 10.30 am about an UFO following which the local police was alerted. However, upon conducting a recce, the airport authorities found nothing near the runway.
>> January 14, 2016: An Air India flight (AI 616) was asked to go-around after the Air Traffic Control (ATC) spotted two balloons over Runway 27
>> January 13, 2016: A Pawan Hans pilot, who was taxiing towards the main runway from the hangar with 11 passengers and a co-pilot, claimed he saw ‘six paragliders’ at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 feet above sea-level
>> November 3, 2015: An ATC officer spots a white-coloured balloon hovering over the airfield near the Air India hangar at a critically lower level
>> May 24, 2015: Five balloons were spotted floating near the airport. Initially mistaken for UFOs, triggering probes by multiple agencies and immense media speculation, investigation revealed that the helium balloons were promotional merchandise to mark a cricket tournament organised by diamond trading firm in Kalina