UDUPI: Panic gripped the residents of Bola village near Belmannu in Karkala here on Saturday when a few passers-by noticed a suspicious object with a battery abandoned near the house of one Kishor Moolya. The balloon-like object sent the jurisdictional Karkala rural police into a tizzy as the local people thought it to be a bomb. Later, it turned out to be a weather balloon of the meteorological department.
Sources told TNSE that it was RSG-20 GPS Radiosonde with a battery-powered telemetry instrument carried into the atmosphere usually by a weather balloon that measures various atmospheric parameters and transmits them to a ground receiver.
“This balloon with a device is released in the morning each day and all necessary precautions are taken. These weather balloons go up in the stratosphere and pose no risk to aircraft,” sources in the department said.
The balloon carries meteorological sensors in it which relays back weather data to the ground station in Mangaluru. Data on temperature, atmospheric pressures, humidity is received through it. Karkala rural police station sub-inspector Naseer Hussain told TNSE that he received information about the object from local informers.
“Soon, our men visited the spot and revenue department officials also came. People heaved a sigh of relief after it was clarified that it was just a weather balloon’’ he said. The white colour balloon had got stuck on the top of a coconut tree. Later, it was lowered by the people to check it.
Usually, this object falls into the sea. In rare occasions, it falls in residential areas, sources informed.