The unearthly fantasies of people tracing the course of an unidentified flying object over north Nanaimo on Wednesday were grounded after police investigated.
Nanaimo RCMP received several calls early Wednesday about strange lights in the sky over Dover Road, said Cpl. Jon Stuart.
“Was this an X-Files case?” Stuart asked. People were photographing and video-recording the phenomenon, he said, and some took to social media.
A bit of old-fashioned foot patrol work, however, found a man flying a kite in the parking lot of Nanaimo North Town shopping centre.
The man confessed he had been flying a box kite with LED lights attached to its tail, police said. He was flying the kite extremely high — perhaps 10,000 feet, high enough to interfere with planes — before the line snapped and he lost it, Stuart said. “This was likely what people had seen flying, then moving erratically in the night sky.”
Kiteworks Canada said most average-sized single-line kites flown for recreational purposes have lines about 100 feet long, while most dual-line average-size kites would have lines of between 30 and 150 feet.
“In my opinion, it is possible but highly unlikely that a person without very specialized kites and equipment and perfect wind conditions could launch and fly a kite to 10,000 feet,” said Bill Vanderlip of Kiteworks. Getting to that height would require a kite line of extremely high quality and a very large kite to carry it, he said.
The RCMP is asking Transport Canada about the rules and regulations about flying an object such as a lit box kite so high that it could interfere with air traffic. Those answers will inform police if such an incident happens again, Stuart said.
“We’re not interested in taking action this time,” he said.
It may not be the first time someone has lit up the skies with a kite, Stuart said. There was a similar report of odd lights in the sky over Departure Bay beach on Nov. 9, 2015.