On November 9, 2018, a UFO event that would become one of the most famous in Ireland unfolded over County Kerry. The incident was first reported at 06:47 local time by a British Airways pilot flying from Montreal to Heathrow. As she navigated her aircraft over the south-west coast of Ireland, she spotted something extraordinary: a very bright light moving at an incredible speed.
The pilot’s initial contact with Shannon Air Traffic Control was to confirm whether there were any military exercises in the area. The air traffic controller confirmed there were none. The exchange that followed was not only notable for its content but also for the evident surprise and curiosity expressed by the pilots and air traffic control.
Describing the object, the British Airways pilot said it had come up along the left side of the aircraft before it “rapidly veered to the north”. She noted that the object moved at such a speed that it seemed almost otherworldly. What was particularly striking was the way the object was able to maintain a trajectory that didn’t appear to be on a collision course with her plane or any other known air traffic.
Another pilot, flying a Virgin aircraft, joined the conversation and shared his observations. He reported witnessing multiple objects following a similar trajectory and that they were exceptionally bright. He noted seeing “two bright lights” over to the right that climbed away at an astounding speed, likening it to Mach 2, which is twice the speed of sound.
This unprecedented event was immediately taken under investigation by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). A spokesperson for the IAA confirmed that the authority had filed a report regarding the unusual air activity and that the matter would be investigated under their normal confidential occurrence investigation process. While Shannon Airport opted not to comment while the investigation was ongoing, the IAA’s acknowledgment of the event was a notable departure from the usual silence that often surrounds such sightings.
The reported observations from multiple experienced pilots and the immediate attention from the IAA give the Shannon UFO sighting a significant place in the history of UFO events. The vivid descriptions of the event by the pilots, the confusion expressed, and the lack of a conventional explanation are elements that continue to spark interest among UFO enthusiasts and skeptics alike.
Apostolos Christou, an astronomer from the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, proposed that what the pilots saw was probably a piece of dust entering the earth’s atmosphere at very high speed, commonly known as shooting stars. He suggested that the brightness of the objects could be due to their size, perhaps as large as a walnut or an apple.
However, this explanation doesn’t entirely satisfy the accounts given by the pilots. The speeds and trajectories reported, coupled with the number of objects and their relative positions, raise questions that a simple meteor explanation fails to answer.
We invite you to listen to the ATC conversation below the article to better understand the pilots’ perspective during this extraordinary event.
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