Devon

Devon meteor: Search after fireball mistaken for plane

Meteor trail over Torquay Image copyright Fiona Hayes
Image caption The trail, seen here over Torquay, was thought initially to have been caused by an aircraft

A land and air search was launched in Devon after a suspected meteor was feared to be an aircraft breaking up in the sky.

Numerous callers alerted police to the flying object during the early hours of Sunday. It was later seen breaking apart and falling towards the ground.

Two police helicopters and a coastguard helicopter from Newquay were scrambled amid fears a plane could be in trouble.

Police said it had since received multiple reports of meteor sightings.

UK Meteor Network - a network of astronomers with meteor detection cameras - said by 09:00 it had received 68 reports of a fireball meteor at about 05:45 BST.

Devon and Cornwall Police said it began receiving calls at 06:25 BST from worried residents in Yelverton, Princetown and Clearbrook.

Image copyright Richard Bassom
Image caption Police received numerous calls about a flying object which broke apart

It said there had been no record of a plane in the area but launched a search as it was unable to rule it out.

The force said it had since received reports of people seeing a meteor from as far away as Dorset and Cardiff.

UK Meteor Network said it was believed to have travelled in a southwesterly direction over the English Channel.

Throughout Sunday, scores of people took to social media to report their own sightings, including astronomers in France.

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Image copyright Hampshire Astronomical Group
Image caption The meteor was recorded at the Clanfield Observatory in Hampshire

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