Seoul, Feb. 11 (Yonhap) The intruder that sent South Korean Air Force planes scrambling late Tuesday morning might have been a phantom, an Air Force spokesman said.
Radar indicated an intruding plane in the West Sea airspace at 10:05, but fighters sent up to investigate found nothing in the area. A search is continuing.
The unidentified flying object was some 24 kilometers (15 miles) south of the Shandong Peninsula in China when it was first detected on Air Force radar and, moving at nearly the speed of sound reached some 128 kilometers (80 miles) west of Kunsan in Korea by 10:20, when it suddenly disappeared from the radar, the Air Force said.
At the time it appeared on radar, the phantom was flying at 630 knots (1,160 kph or 724 mph), he said.
The Air Force promptly scrambled 18 fighter planes, a rescue helicopter and a C-130 transport, but they found nothing in the area, he said.
The Air Force suspects that a ghost signal was caused on radar due to an overlapping of air surveillance systems, the officer said.
He explained that sometimes, due to such pulses, birds appear on radar as planes.
Since a similar phenomenon can also be seen on radar when an airplane crashes, we are searching the sea where the object was last detected on radar, but so far nothing has been found, he said.
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