Manipur’s Imphal Airport, Bir Tikendrajit International Airport, has been on high alert and operations were temporarily suspended for three hours after an unidentified flying object (UFO) was spotted over the airport on November 19, Sunday.
- The Airports Authority of India (AAI) reported that at 2:30 PM, Imphal ATC received a telephonic message from the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) control room that an unidentified flying object (UFO) was seen flying above the Imphal airport and remained stationary for sometime.
- It disappeared around 4:00 PM. An ATC (air traffic control) official told PTI, "The UFO was visible with bare eyes moving westwards of the airfield till 4 pm."
- Moreover, flying operations were halted and more than 500 passengers of three outbound flights were stranded.
- As per reports, the ATC and people on the ground saw the drones around, after which the three flights, two Air India, and an IndiGo flight, were asked not to take off. At the same time, two incoming flights were diverted.
- The departure of three flights destined for Agartala, Guwahati, and Kolkata from Imphal had been halted until 6 pm. Meanwhile, a flight originally bound from Delhi to Imphal was rerouted to Kolkata. Additionally, a 3.50 pm flight from Guwahati to Imphal, initially suspended, eventually took off at 6.50 pm.
Response from officials
- A statement issued by Airport Director Chipemmi Keishing said, "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."
- The AAI official said, "The UFO was visible from the terrace of ATC by ATS personnel, public, local police, airlines staff and CISF personnel and was identified to all the viewers." He further added that object was white colour and it could be seen with naked eyes.
- The flight operations were resumed from 5.30pm.