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Mystery still surrounds object over Manipur skies

GUWAHATI: Authorities are yet to reveal the details of the mystery object that was sighted by security agency hovering at a high altitude over Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal on Sunday afternoon, leading to temporary closure of Imphal airspace and flights for more than three hours.

A source in the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said the object, which vanished from the sky after sunset, has not re-appeared on Monday and the Indian Air Force (IAF) is investigating the matter.

Though reports are doing the rounds that the object may be a drone, defence officials and AAI did not confirm it till the filing of this report.

“It was suspected to be a drone or a balloon. But IAF has not shared any investigation details with us. It may be submitted before the Union aviation ministry directly,” said an official of the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport, Imphal.

A source in the airport said the size of the flying object was so small that the Imphal airport radar could not detect any signal from it.

“The reflecting area or surface of the object was so less that even if there was emission from the object, it could not be detected by the radar. However, the IAF fighter jets may have gone close to it and got some vital clues,” the source added.

The flying object was sighted over the airport by CISF officials around 2.30 pm on Sunday and the air space over the Manipur capital was temporarily closed. At 3.55 pm, the Eastern Command of IAF commenced their “Mission Red & Mission Blue” through scrambling of its fighter planes and it continued till 5.35 pm. As dusk descended, the object disappeared and never appeared again, officials said.

Three outbound flights were halted at Imphal airport during the air space closure time, while two flights, coming towards Imphal, were diverted to Guwahati and Kolkata respectively.

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