Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
Well, in this case, no one actually knows what it was that flew within feet of a Heathrow jet, very nearly causing a mid-air crash.
The captain of an A320 has reported that he saw a cigar-shaped metallic object fly just above the cockpit.
A report on the apparent near-miss, which took place in July, has only recently been released by the UK Airprox Board.
The report described the moments leading up to the incident and states that: 'Having very little time to focus, he [the pilot] was under the apprehension that they were on a collision course with no time to react.
'His immediate reaction was to duck to the right and reach over and alert the FO (first officer).
'His first words to the FO were, "did you see that?" who replied "see what?"
The report goes on to detail the captains claim that he saw an object, described as cigar/rugby ball-like in shape, bright silver and metallic like, pass within a few feet of the aircraft.
The pilot had radioed in air control to check if any other aircraft were in the vicinity, but was told there were none.
Investigators have ruled out the possibility that the object was a balloon of some kind.
The report concluded that: 'Although only a supposition, members opined that this may have been due to a combination of a possible reflection of the low sun off one of the aircraft to the west, and of the pilot's head movement as he looked forward.'
But as for offering a solid explanation for the anomaly? No such luck.
Author: Natasha Lee, Approving editor: Simon Black
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