Several commercials airline pilots reported a series of fast-moving unidentified objects in the skies off the west coast of Ireland last week in an incident now under investigation.
One pilot said the object or objects were traveling at “astronomical” speeds of at least Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound, The Irish Times reported.
The incident began when a British Airways pilot flying from Montreal to London’s Heathrow Airport contacted Shannon Air Traffic Control in Ireland to ask if there were any military aircraft in the vicinity. When told there was no such aircraft, the pilot said something had moved “so fast” past the aircraft.
“Errr... alongside you?” the air traffic controller asked.
The pilot replied that two objects had approached on the left and then “rapidly” veered toward the north.
“We saw a bright light and it just disappeared at a very high speed,” she said.
A Virgin Airlines flight from Orlando to Manchester, UK, then reported “two bright lights” that “seemed to bank over to the right and then climb away at speed.” The pilot described “a meteor or another object making some kind of reentry, appears to be multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory, very bright from where we were.”
Then, a third pilot chimed in.
“Glad it wasn’t just me,” the Norwegian Air pilot flying from Stewart Airport in New York to Shannon, Ireland said.
“No, uh, yeah very interesting that one,” the Virgin Airlines pilot replied.
The British Airways flight was a Boeing 787, the Virgin aircraft was a Boeing 747 and the Norwegian Air flight was a Boeing 737, The Irish Examiner reported.
According to the BBC, the Irish Aviation Authority is now investigating the reports of “unusual air activity.” A spokesperson for Shannon Airport told the broadcaster that there would be no comment until that investigation was complete.
At least one expert said he knows what the object was ― and it wasn’t a UFO.
David Moore, head of Astronomy Ireland, told the Irish Times that he was “1,000 percent sure” it was a meteorite and had received at least four reports of a fireball from people on the country’s west coast. His organization also noted the sighting at the time on Facebook.
“We had some reports of a massive fireball this morning!” Astronomy Ireland wrote on Friday. That report said it was moving “quite slow” and noted that it “broke up into several pieces.”
In response to a question about the UFO sighting, the organization wrote that a fireball breaking up “really does look like a fleet of aircraft/UFO’s (sic) flying by.”