(Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)
USA TODAY - The pilot of an Airbus A320 flying near London's Heathrow Airport told aviation authorities he almost ran into an unidentified flying object, in a bizarre incident that reportedly happened July 13 but is just now making the news.
The pilot (the airline involved is not named) was at 34,000 feet when, he says, a metallic object shaped like a cigar or a rugby ball suddenly came within a few feet of the left side of his jet and just missed colliding with it; he was so certain it was going to strike that he ducked in response to seeing it after determining there was "no time to react" to avoid collision.
He alerted air traffic controllers, who came up empty-handed, the Telegraph reports. The UK aviation board that looks into near-misses over the UK opened an investigation (this isn't its first UFO-related inquiry), but so far authorities have no explanation, having ruled out other aircraft and meteorological and toy balloons.
One aviation consultant notes that typically in cases like this "an explanation ... materializes at some point." Some think the pilot just saw the sun reflecting off another plane, the Washington Times reports.
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