Flight operations at Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal, Manipur, were halted for several hours on Sunday after what was described by officials as an unidentified flying object (UFO) was seen hovering above the airport.
“Due to the sighting of an unidentified flying object within Imphal controlled airspace, two flights have been diverted and three departing flights have been delayed. Flight operations commenced after receipt of clearance from the competent authority” airport director Chipemmi Keishing in a statement.
Sources said the UFO was sighted by a pilot of an Indigo flight that was about to depart around 2.20 pm. All flight operations were immediately suspended but resumed around 6 pm. The UFO was said to have been visible till 4 pm.
“I had no idea what was going on. I was informed that the flight could not take off because there was some kind of object hovering in the sky, an unmanned aerial vehicle of some sort. Officials of the flight operator, however, were not so sure what the object was,” said Bhaskar Salam, a passenger.
“I cannot take any chances when the flight operator was not sure what the object was and mentioned calling in fighter jets to blow up the object,” he added.
Imphal West Superintendent of Police Ksh Shivakanta Singh said the object hovered for several hours, baffling everyone. “We have no idea what the object was and how big it was. It hovered in the sky for hours and then disappeared,” the officer said.