Torontonians were on high alert late Saturday, after residents spotted an unidentified flying object in the night sky over Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue.
Several videos were posted to YouTube and photos circulated on Twitter and Facebook.
“I don’t believe in aliens, but now … I don’t know what I saw tonight and I don’t know what I should say about it anymore,” a Facebook user, Roxanna Maleki, said in a video posted to her profile page.
Ms. Maleki described stepping out of a movie theatre to see “big shinning lights” hovering in the sky.
“I was so nervous,” she said in the video. “Everybody was screaming, ‘What the hell is that?’”
Witnesses appear to have turned to social media, rather than police, for protection. Police at 32 Division said they didn’t receive any calls about the mysterious flying object.
Sarah Chun, a 36-year-old IT specialist, was sitting at the dinner table in her 15 floor condo late Saturday when she spotted something floating outside her window. She filmed the strange row of hovering lights using her ipad, and posted the results online. The clip has been viewed over 4,000 times.
“I guess that’s the power of social media,” she said. “People are very interested in the idea of UFOs.”
One Toronto police officer on patrol that night Tweeted that he had heard from at least one concerned resident.
“I’ve been a police officer for 15 years. Tonight I have a first! My first report of a UFO!! He was serious,” he wrote.
The officer, Constable Craig Brister, said that the UFO was a “quadcopter” a kind of remote-controlled drone, launched from a rooftop.
Constable Brian Harper, also of 32 Division, watched some of the videos that were posted online and also concluded the mysterious flying object was likely a remote-controlled drone.
“Remote controlled drones, you can buy them in any model store anywhere in the city,” he said. “Put some lights up on them and fly them around the building.”
Similar sightings happened even before high-tech drones were easy to buy, he said, when pranksters taped flashing lights to helium balloons.