Jan 31, 2021 I Paul Seaburn

Commercial Pilots Swear UFO Over Pakistan Was Not a Balloon

When it comes to UFOs, most people accept the eyewitness accounts of astronauts, military and professional pilots over sightings by the general public. That may explain why a sighting by a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot and crew on a domestic flight over Pakistani airspace is getting intense scrutiny worldwide. It helps that someone in the cockpit captured the UFO on video and the sighting was in bright daylight against a clear blue sky. With that many witnesses, including reports from the ground, Pakistan International Airlines felt obligated to issue a statement. What did all of these people see? What did the airline think?

“The video was shot over Multan-Sialkot region by Captain Faisal Qureshi and his First Officer Captain Talha while piloting the Karachi-Lahore flight at an altitude of 35,000 feet.”

The Express Tribune reports that the UFO was spotted by the crew of domestic flight PIA flight PK304 from Karachi to Lahore. At about 4 pm on January 23 near Rahim Yar Khan, the pilot saw the UFO about 1,000 feet above the Airbus A-320. According to the records, Captain Qureshi immediately reported the sighting back to the control room. After landing in Karachi, the pilot shared the video with officials of Pakistan International Airlines. They were sufficiently concerned that a spokesperson made a statement to the public:

"It is too early to say what that object was. In fact, we might not be able to tell what the object was at all. However, something was spotted and it was reported in accordance with the required protocol."

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Better call the tower on this one.

Somehow, as usual, the 41-second video appeared on social media. (Watch it here.) Speaking in English, the pilot can be heard saying “It's not a balloon, it's not an aircraft.” Some of the video was censored due to language, but reports say the pilot was also heard commenting “The UFO was extremely bright despite the presence of sunlight” and speculating that it was not a planet but could be a “space station” or an “artificial planet.” One report also stated the pilot saw what looked like a metal ring surrounding the UFO and a brilliant light coming from its center.

Despite the pilot’s expert opinion that the object was not a balloon, that was the prevailing comment on media posts. The Express Tribune contacted Pakistan Meteorological Department spokesman Khalid Malik, who explained they have some balloons that fly at an altitude of 6,000 to 7,000 feet, and Radiosondes balloons which can reach 70,000 feet. However, private weather station operator Jawad Memon pointed out that Radiosondes, which he claims the Meteorological Department no longer uses, are non-reflective rubber while the UFO was obviously very shiny. Some commenters and media sites referred to the UFO as an alien Foo fighter, but that term – first used during WWII – has been explained to be either electrical discharge from the wings of a plane or reflective ice crystals – both of which follow the plane and are close to it, unlike the Pakistan UFO. And, since it was recorded on video, it’s not a hallucination due to fatigue or stress.

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Foo fighter?

“A similar incident was also reported in January 2019 by PIA pilots in Karachi. A UFO was spotted by the flight crew flying 105 feet above the aircraft, while the plane was flying at an altitude of 2,500feet. The flight captain suspected it could be a drone. The incident was immediately reported to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) in Karachi.”

Was this one a drone too? The altitude rules out commercially available drones, but it could be a military drone, although the pilots didn’t make that connection. That puts this object solidly in the “unidentified” category with a slight lean towards “balloon” but a contrary pull towards UFO because of the inability of the pilots to identify it.

Which way do YOU lean?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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