Police are following up claims an unidentified aircraft that looked like a “giant black matchbox” crashed into the sea off the coast of a popular Malaysian resort over the weekend.
The crash took place at sea near the Flamingo Hotel in the resort town of Tanjung Bungah in the Malaysian state of Penang on 20th September, according to 10 people interviewed, including three direct eyewitnesses.
The reports have baffled cops as although numerous people in different locations reported seeing the same thing, there are no reports of any flights being lost in the area.
Police spokesperson Soffian Santong said that more individuals will be called in for questioning as the investigation continues.
Of the 10 people quizzed so far, only three, all in their 50s, claimed to have personally seen the incident about 1.5 kilometres off the coast.
Santong said: “The trio, who were sitting 20 metres apart from one another, alleged to have seen an object, like a giant black matchstick box, falling from the sky before crashing into the sea.
“They said something which looked like a balloon appeared before the object sank. However, they said they could not determine if they had seen the aircraft’s wings.
“Three of them gave almost similar accounts of the incident, which is why we can’t just dismiss the matter.”
A search and rescue operation was immediately launched, although nothing had been found as of 6.30pm 21st September.
He added: “The investigation is ongoing to determine the authenticity of the claim. However, the search and rescue (SAR) operation will only resume when we have new leads.”
According to the police, a preliminary review suggested that it could have been a private aircraft.
A privately-owned helicopter was flying in the area at the time of the alleged crash, but the police have confirmed that it landed safely in Subang.
The police also checked with Malaysia’s aviation authority to confirm if any aircraft had been reported as missing or crashed.
Santong said: “Until 11am today, no one has come forward to lodge any missing persons report.
“The marine police have also interviewed several fishermen; while we interviewed several beach boys, but no one had seen anything.”
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