Aerial Pyrotechnics Display Sparks UFO Panic in Leicester, England on Friday the 13th

A still image of one of the objects taken from a video uploaded to YouTube.  (OnthegoGamingW/Ismail)

A still image of one of the objects taken from a video uploaded to YouTube. (OnthegoGamingW/Ismail)

Residents of Leicester, England, were surprised last Friday the 13th when they looked up to see several unidentified flying objects trailing flames in the night sky.

Many area residents took to social media to upload photos and video of the phenomenon.

Some concerned citizens thought that perhaps a plane had caught fire.

“That’s so weird. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit scared," said one witness in a video sent to Leicester Live.

“It’s coming towards us! Oh my God, it could be an aeroplane on fire," another replied. "Something’s on fire!”

Others suspected an extraterrestrial explanation.

“There’s two blue balls of light going flying through the sky," Leicester resident Jamie Mackay said in a Facebook live video. “This is freaky. We’ve definitely got UFOs over Leicester tonight, people. I think it’s aliens. It’s weird as hell. It’s insane. That went on for about 20 minutes."

“These two things are yellow. They first come out blue and then they fly, meet each other, fly about and then it’s literally like a stream of fire coming from them. What the hell is it?" he continued. “You can see it’s like a ball of fire.”

After a number of calls from frightened civilians, the Leicester police tweeted a statement explaining that the seemingly strange phenomenon was part of a pyrotechnics display.

"We are aware of a planned event where fireworks are being set off from planes in the Wigston and Leicester area," the statement said. "Please do not report this to the police as we have been advised by the organizers already. The same will be happening tomorrow (Saturday)."

Not everyone immediately believed that explanation.

“Fireworks from planes? Yeah OK then," one person commented on a post by Leicester Live. "Cover up. If this was an actual event with something as rare as setting fireworks off from airplanes then I'm sure there would be loads of people at that event posting pics and video footage.”

The mystery was officially solved the next day, September 14th, when BBC Radio Leicester admitted that they’d hired aerial pyrotechnics company AeroSparx to promote a new weekday show on their station.

“The flying lights in the sky over Leicester on Friday night were Aerosparx," BBC Radio Leicester editor Sophie Shadlow said. “The local aerobatics team, who use pyrotechnics, were taking Jimmy Carpenter and Summaya Mughal for a spin to show what they do and celebrate the presenters’ new weekday show at 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on BBC Radio Leicester."

Guy Westgate, team leader of Aerosparx and one of the pilots, admitted that they are often mistaken for UFOs while performing.

"We often get confused for UFOs, but we have never gone flying before with the intention to make our flight look like something from outer space," he said. "We have been overwhelmed by the reaction. It was Friday 13th, with a full moon. Does it get any better?"

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