Normal flight services at Manipur’s Imphal International Airport were affected on Sunday afternoon over sighting of an unidentified flying object (UFO), officials said. Two flights were diverted and three others delayed. Services normalised after around three hours.
“Due to sighting of an unidentified flying object within Imphal controlled airspace, two flights have been diverted and three departing flights have been delayed. Flight operations commence after receipt of clearance from the competent authority,” a statement issued by Airport Director Chipemmi Keishing said. An official of the Air Traffic Control (ATC) said they received a message from the CISF at 2.30 pm, informing them that a UFO was found near the airport.
Eastern Air Command IAF tweets, “IAF activated its Air Defence response mechanism based on visual inputs from Imphal airport. The small object was not seen thereafter.”
“The UFO was visible with bare eyes moving westwards of the airfield till 4 pm,” the official said. The diverted flights included an Indigo flight from Kolkata which was initially instructed “to hold overhead” and was diverted to Guwahati after 25 minutes.
The delayed flights however left Imphal airport after receiving clearance late after around three hours. The Indian Air Force Eastern Command at Shillong was informed of the development, the official said.
Manipur is bordered by Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam, besides sharing an international border with Myanmar to its east.