The Irish Aviation Authority is investigating after several pilots reported seeing an unidentified flying object off the southwest coast of Ireland on Friday.
It was shortly before 7 a.m. local time when a British Airways pilot contacted Shannon air traffic control about an unknown object flying near her aircraft, reports the BBC.
In a radio transmission with air traffic control, the pilot asked if there were any military exercises in the area because she saw an object that was "moving so fast." Air traffic control responded that there were no such exercises.
The pilot reported that the object "came up on our left-hand side and then rapidly veered to the north." She also described a "bright light" moving at a "very high speed."
Listen to the radio transmission here. (Skip to 17:50)
A pilot from Virgin Airlines joined the transmission and reported seeing "multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory" and added that they were "very bright."
Another pilot described the speed of the object as "astronomical, it was like Mach-2," which is twice the speed of sound.
Very interesting report on Shannon high level Friday 9 November at 0630z with multiple aircraft with reported sightings of a UFO over County Kerry. Skip to 17 minutes to listen reports on @liveatc https://t.co/VP1p0hrScn #Aviation #UFO #Ireland— Trevor Buckley (@IrishAero) November 11, 2018
In a statement to the Irish Examiner, the Irish Aviation Authority said:
Following reports from a small number of aircraft on Friday, November 9, of unusual air activity, the IAA has filed a report. This report will be investigated under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process.
Astronomer Apostolos Christou has a possible explanation for the sighting. He told the BBC that the pilots probably saw a piece of dust entering Earth's atmosphere at a very high speed.
"It was most likely what are commonly called shooting stars," he said. "It appears the matter was extremely bright so it must have been quite a large piece of material.