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Shortly before 7 am local time, a British Airways pilot contacted air traffic controllers at Shannon Airport on Ireland’s west coast to ask about possible military exercises, per the BBC.
En route from Montreal, Canada, to London’s Heathrow Airport, the pilot described a “very bright light” that came along the left side of the aircraft “then rapidly veered to the north” and “disappeared at very high speed,” per the Guardian. “It was moving so fast,” she said. She wasn’t the only one to notice, though an air traffic controller confirmed there were no visible objects on radar.
A Virgin Airlines pilot flying from Orlando, Fla., to Manchester also reported seeing two “very bright” lights “following the same sort of trajectory.” He first suggested they might be from a meteor before noting they “seemed to bank over to the right and climb away at speed.” “Glad I’m not the only one,” a third pilot noted.
One described the objects’ speed as “astronomical, it was like Mach 2,” or twice the speed of sound. That’s also twice the speed of a commercial jetliner, per the Irish Times. AirLive notes the planes were flying between 28,500 feet and 42,000 feet.
The Irish Aviation Authority says it’s looking into the incident “under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process.”