A packed passenger plane’s near miss with an unidentified flying object in the UK has sparked an investigation.

The UFO came within seconds of hitting the plane as it descended towards Leeds Bradford airport, The Sun reports.

The incident unfolded on September 1 as the packed Boeing 737 prepared to land.

The plane was almost struck head-on by the unidentified object, prompting a “Category A” classification by Airprox, the UK civil aviation safety authority that which monitors and investigates “near-miss” events.

Airprox said the object, which could have been a drone, passed by at less than three metres away.

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“Both pilots suddenly saw a bright light and an object which appeared to be moving toward the aircraft, almost head-on, slightly up and to the left,” Airprox reported.

“The object appeared without warning and there was no time to act.”

Pilots were later told that a police helicopter had seen sky lanterns (unmanned hot air balloons) flying in the area, but Airprox reported that neither pilot believed what they had seen was a lantern.

Investigators declared that “a definite risk of collision had existed.”

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Three days earlier, a drone came within a metre of a plane taking off from Manchester Airport, The Sun reports.

The Easyjet Airbus was carrying 186 passengers and was at 8,000ft above Greater Manchester when it was nearly struck by the drone, which was flying at 20 times above the legal height.

Near misses with drones have become a common problem for commercial pilots, with Airprox reporting 400 incidents in the past five years.

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