‘UFO’ was in fact just a contrail

2015-05-09 08:26
This object was seen falling from the sky on Tuesday afternoon in Northdale. Did you see it?

This object was seen falling from the sky on Tuesday afternoon in Northdale. Did you see it? (Supplied)

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PIETERMARITZBURG’S vapour trail mystery has crystallised into one conclusion — the vapours were the trail left by an aeroplane flying at high altitude.

Speculation started after the trail was spotted on Tuesday af-ternoon, with three theories put forward: it was a piece of space junk falling to Earth, a large meteor or an aeroplane.

Pietermaritzburg resident Errol Agnew was emphatic that it was a plane. “The aircraft started creating the vapour trails before it got to Pietermaritzburg and, once overhead, was clearly visible ahead of the vapour trails. As the aircraft headed to the west, it was no longer visible and only the trail could be seen in the sky.

“Because of the altitude, the aircraft could not be heard. Judging from the altitude and direction of the aircraft, I am reasonably certain it was the Qantas flight from Australia heading for O.R. Tambo.”

Hilton resident Karen Bell agreed.

“I think it’s definitely the contrail from a Qantas A380 airplane. You don’t normally see such things here in South Africa, but they are common in colder parts of Europe,” she said.

Manoj Anand said he was on Greytown Road when he saw the “white streak across the sky”.

“I took a picture and then zoomed in on it from my phone. Once I did that, I could clearly see that it was a jet flying at a very high altitude,” he said.

Anand said that on doing a little research, he found that the hot air from the jet’s fumes mix with the cold air at high altitude to cause the white streaks to appear.

Louise Schmidt took a video of the trail from Scottsville, and said it was a plane flying at high altitude to Johannesburg.

Jane Harley photographed a similar stream at 3.30 pm on Wednesday.

“I don’t think it is the same as the one in the paper, and I didn’t see anything falling, just the line. I took the picture because it seemed so unusual that there would be a trail that went straight down like that.

“I wondered about it because it seemed unlikely that it could be a plane, since that plane would most certainly have crashed.”

— Witness Reporter

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