In a surprising turn of events, the Indian Air Force (IAF) recently deployed two Rafale fighter jets to investigate reports of an unidentified flying object (UFO) near Imphal airport in Manipur. This incident unfolded on a Sunday, prompting swift action from the IAF’s Eastern Command.
Imphal Airport: IAF’s Rapid Response
Upon receiving credible reports of a possible UFO sighting, the IAF swiftly launched one Rafale from Hashimara. Despite an extensive search, the first aircraft did not observe any such object in the designated area, according to reliable sources. Undeterred, a second aircraft was deployed for a more thorough investigation, but it also failed to detect any unusual activity or unidentified objects in the airspace.
Unveiling the Mystery
The Eastern Command of the Indian Air Force acknowledged the activation of its Air Defense response mechanism based on visual inputs received from Imphal airport. However, despite these efforts, the unidentified object in question remained elusive. The object was reportedly observed moving westward of the airfield until approximately 4 pm, as noted by a CISF official.
Imphal Airport: Flight Operations Disrupted
In response to the reported UFO sighting, flight operations at Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal were temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure. This disruption affected several flights, including an IndiGo aircraft from Kolkata, which was initially instructed to hold overhead before being diverted to Guwahati after a 25-minute delay.
Subsequent clearance allowed the delayed flights to depart from Imphal airport approximately three hours later. The incident prompted heightened security measures and increased vigilance at the airport.
Security Measures and Drone Sighting
Security officials at Imphal Airport were on high alert after sighting an unidentified flying object. As a precaution, the airport was shut down for four hours in the afternoon. Security personnel reportedly spotted a very small drone around 3 pm, prompting an alert to other agencies at the airport.
Flight operations were postponed until security clearance was obtained. Three flights were affected due to the security measures, causing delays and diversions. The airport director, Chipemmi Keishing, confirmed in an official statement that the flights were diverted and delayed due to the sighting of an unidentified flying object in Imphal’s controlled airspace.
Imphal Airport: Passenger Disruptions and Resumed Operations
The disruption directly impacted passengers, with three flights sitting on the tarmac for over three hours and two incoming flights diverting to Kolkata and Guwahati. The airport authorities closed the “controlled airspace,” which temporarily halted all flight operations.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) handed over airspace control to the Indian Air Force, giving the all-clear to restore the airspace for commercial flight operations. The delayed flights eventually resumed operations, relieving approximately 1,000 affected passengers.
The Unresolved Enigma
The sighting of an unidentified flying object near Imphal airport has intrigued both authorities and the public. Despite the swift response from the Indian Air Force and heightened security measures, the mysterious object remained unverified. The incident underscores the challenges posed by unidentified aerial phenomena and the need for advanced detection and identification capabilities in safeguarding airspace security.
As the investigation into this UFO sighting continues, questions linger about the nature of the object and the potential implications for air travel security. The incident serves as a reminder of the constant vigilance required to ensure the safety of airspace and the passengers who depend on it for their journeys.