On Sunday afternoon, an unidentified flying object (UFO) was sighted hovering around the Imphal International Airport, causing flight disruption for several hours.
“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,” said Chipemmi Keishing, Director, Imphal International Airport.
He also said flight operations commenced only after receipt of clearance from the competent authority.
According to input from sources, the Imphal airport experienced a four-hour shutdown due to high alert triggered by the sighting of a high-altitude unidentified flying object over the airport.
According to an official report, at around 2:30 pm Imphal air traffic control (ATC) received a telephonic message from CISF control room that an unidentified flying object was seen near the Imphal airfield just above the ATC Tower overhead.
The unidentified flying object was visible from the terrace of ATC Tower as well as people on the ground.
The official also informed that the object was only identified to be of white colour. It was overhead the terminal building and it moved southwards above ATC Tower and remained stationed there for some time. Thereafter, it moved south west of the airfield and remained at sight till 4:05 pm and disappeared, it said.
The Times of India reported that the Indian Air Force responded promptly upon learning of unidentified objects sighted near Imphal airport by dispatching its Rafale fighter aircraft to investigate.
According to defense sources cited by ANI, “Soon after information about the UFO near Imphal airport was received, a Rafale fighter aircraft from a nearby airbase was scrambled to search for the UFO.” The aircraft, equipped with advanced sensors, conducted low-level flying over the suspected area in an effort to locate the UFO but found nothing. Following the return of the first aircraft, another Rafale fighter was deployed for further investigation, but the UFO was not observed in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, an arriving Indigo Airbus 320, en route from Kolkata to Imphal, received instructions to circle overhead for 25 minutes before being subsequently diverted to Guwahati. Additionally, another flight originating from Delhi to Imphal was redirected to Kolkata, as reported by an official.
The other three flights scheduled to depart from Imphal airport to Agartala, Guwahati and Kolkata were remain suspended till 6 pm.
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The airspace was handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and after it gave a green signal, resumption of normal aircraft operations at Imphal airport was restored at 5:45 pm.
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