Drone sighted at airport, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, beach; security on high alert

The drone was first sighted at Kovalam beach early Friday morning by a night patrolling group of Kerala police, who searched the area for its operators.

Published: 23rd March 2019 01:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2019 05:18 AM   |  A+A-

Drone. (File photo)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Was it a helicam used by a film crew? Or product of a fictitious mind fuelled by the resplendent ‘Super worm equinox moon’? Or indeed a spy drone that flew over the coastal line to map strategic locations?

Questions galore, but the security agencies are still scrambling for an answer even 24 hours after a police officer with the Kovalam station spotted a flying machine that looked like a “drone” but “bigger than the ones used for taking aerial footage at weddings”.

The matter of a “big and low-flying drone” was reported from Kovalam at 12.40 am by an ASI when “he went to see the moon in its full glory”.

Thursday night witnessed a unique celestial event where the super moon coincided with the spring equinox --- a phenomenon that repeats every 11 years. Barely two hours later, security men posted at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) near Kochuveli too spotted the “drone”. These two sightings pressed panic button in the city which houses various security installations including Southern Air Command and Pangode Military Station.

The intelligence wings of the state, Centre and the military were kept on their toes. However, they could not muster enough details other than statements of the witnesses to decipher what exactly happened on the skies of Kovalam and Kochuveli early on Friday morning.

State intelligence officers said the radars installed at the Air Force station at Mukkunnimala and the international airport did not show any presence of unidentified flying objects. "The Air Force radar is very powerful, but the said object didn't appear in that," a senior officer told Express. Military Intelligence sources too said there were no intrusion into any of their defence zones in the city.

A Special Branch officer said since there were no electronic evidence of drones flying into the high-security areas, the helicam that caught the attention of the officer might have been used by the film crew in Kovalam. Shooting of a film featuring a senior actor is in progress in the city and the agencies felt the helicam might have been used to take aerial shots of the sea.


Intelligence could not muster enough details other than statements of the witnesses
A Special Branch officer said there were no electronic evidence of drones flying into the high-security areas
Following the incident, the state police have decided to get strict with those who fly drones without holding valid licence

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