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Two held for flying promotional balloons in Mumbai airport airspace

Mumbai Police on Tuesday arrested two employees of a small-time event management firm here in connection with the spotting of unidentified parachute-like objects over the city airport airspace last week which had triggered a security concern.

According to police, the unidentified objects were promotional balloons filled with gas, launched by the event management company to advertise its client.

“Yes, our airport police have arrested two persons who on Saturday flew air-borne objects. They will be produced in a Bandra court today when we would seek their custody,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti.

They have been identified as Kunal Shah and Nilesh Shrimankar.

DCP Virendra Mishra said the objects were promotional balloons launched by the company Shah and Shrimankar were working with.

“The promotional balloons were launched during a cricket match organised by Dharmanand Diamond Export company for its employees at Kalina cricket ground,” Mishra said.

A case has been registered against the organisers under sections 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of IPC, the DCP said, adding the organisers flew the balloons in the airspace without permission.

He also clarified the balloons were filled with gas and not remote-operated.

Five unidentified objects were seen mysteriously floating over the Mumbai airport area on Saturday evening by a Jet Airways pilot who aborted take-off and immediately alerted Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials.

Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) authorities, who were then informed about the objects, immediately alerted the airport police station.

Police had earlier suspected them to be Chinese lanterns.

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