The operations of the normal flights to and from the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Manipur’s capital Imphal were affected for several hours on Sunday after an unidentified object was seen hovering in the sky.
The object was sighted around 2.30pm by security personnel stationed in the airport. An alert was sounded and operations stopped for nearly three hours which affected three outbound flights and two flights bound for Imphal got diverted, officials said, requesting anonymity.
“Due to sighting of the unidentified object above the airport, flight operations remained suspended from 2.30pm to 5.50pm. In that duration, three flights leaving from Imphal were delayed and two in-bound flights were diverted,” said an airport official.
The three flights scheduled to depart from Imphal were meant for Agartala, Guwahati and Kolkata. Nearly 500 passengers of those three flights were stranded for over three hours. One flight to Imphal from New Delhi was diverted to Kolkata and another from Guwahati got delayed for over three hours.
The operations resumed in the evening after security clearance was given. Airport officials were unable to state what the flying object seen above the airport was. An inquiry is stated to be underway.
Manipur has been witnessing ethnic clashes between Meitei and tribal Kuki communities since May. The violence has resulted in at least 178 deaths and displaced around 50,000.