Police officer explains mystery behind mysterious lights hovering over North York
Sandie Benitah, CP24.com
Published Sunday, July 27, 2014 8:03AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 27, 2014 3:15PM EDT
Several videos of colourful, flashing lights hovering over North York popped up on social media overnight, prompting musings about an alien invasion in Toronto.
But a local police officer may have the answer to the mystery.
A number of people on Twitter reported seeing the strange lights in the sky moving around the area of Yonge and Sheppard in the Willowdale neighbourhood. Many of the tweets included photos and videos.
Several of them showed a bright white light moving unpredictably. Others showed four lights flashing pink and green in a single, slightly diagonal line.
“It was a really bright orbital object...glowing!” said Sarah Chun in a comment on a video she took titled ‘UFO in North York, Toronto?!”
Chun posted two videos to YouTube explaining what she saw.
“(It) stayed in one spot for about 10 to 15 minutes but then (it) started moving Southwest towards Yonge and Sheppard... then disappeared out of my sight,” she wrote.
Another person who commented on the video said his mom saw the same thing.
“My mom got two really good pictures of it, was right in the flight path. Planes were going right and left to get around it. (It) was there for over an hour.”
One video showed more than a dozen people on the ground looking up to the sky, recording the event with their smart phones.
Calls to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority were unanswered. Toronto police at 32 Division say they received a few calls about it overnight.
After seeing the story on CP24, a Toronto police officer who patrols 32 Division sent a tweet explaining the incident.
"Hard to believe my UFO from last night actually made it as a top news story with CP24. #Quadcopter Google it!," he wrote before adding the additional hashtags #headshake, #slownewsnight.
"Quadcopter was up over Yonge Street north of Empress last night," he tweeted. "Was launched from a building top."
A quadcopter is a multirotor helicopter that has been used as a surveillance tool as well as a way to test different theories of flight navigation.
Sgt. Barry White with 32 Division told CP24 the officer, Const. Craig Brister, was on patrol Saturday night when the UFO was first reported.
"I've been a police officer for 15 years. Tonight I have a first!," Brister tweeted last night. "My first report of a UFO. He was serious! #Quadcopter."
Sgt. White said he doesn't believe Brister was the one operating the quadcopter, but was simply tweeting about a report he received while on duty.
CP24 spoke with Brister Saturday afternoon. He confirmed he did not launch the Quadcopter and in fact, was just speculating on what he saw while he was on bike patrol. He said he noticed the lights and saw someone pointing. That person told Brister he believed it was a UFO.
UFO sightings are not uncommon in Canada.
Last year, there were almost 1,200 reported sightings across the country or about three incidents each day, according to Ufology Research. More than 40 per cent of those sightings were in Ontario.
Watch a video of last night's sighting below. The video was taken by Sarah Chun.