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Raft of UFO sightings sparked by high-tech birthday celebrations

A sensational Bromsgrove hi-tech drone display – rarely seen in the UK – ended up being mistaken for an alien invasion in neighbouring towns from Redditch to Rubery.

Chris Pearson, who runs Fantasia Fireworks Company, and friend Ben Ascott launched the jaw-dropping display as a belated 60th birthday celebration for Chris at his home in Finstall on Saturday night (August 21).

But as the sky above Bromsgrove lit up with the spectacular drone firework display – similar to those used in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Tokyo – some baffled locals took to Facebook wondering if the mystery lights were UFOs and they should be calling Mulder and Scully.

Read more: ‘Thought I was going mad’ – Stunning drone display lights up Birmingham sky

Residents as far afield as Redditch, Alvechurch, Barnt Green and Rubery asked others if they had seen two strange lights in the sky. Some suggested it must be “aliens” while others wondered if it was “spaceships”.

After reading the UFO posts, Chris Pearson put worried residents out of their misery, explaining that the lights were man-made. “It would seem people’s imaginations are running wild,” added Chris.

Ben Ascott said the unusual firework show used two Grob unmanned planes, which have specially-fitted wing tips to hold various pyrotechnics in place during an aerial display at 2,500ft in the air.

“These displays haven’t been done much in the UK and are in places like Saudi Arabia, so we thought we could give it a go for Chris’ party as he missed celebrating his 60th due to Covid last year,” said Ben, who owns Aston Field’s Ascott’s restaurant.

“These pyrotechnics are incredibly quiet but you still get the visual extravagance associated with a firework display. Tim and Tom are the incredible pilots and aerobatic geniuses. This was something special for the party but we hope to bring more of this soon to the Midlands.”

It follows a drone light display in Birmingham to mark a year until the Commonwealth Games that also left residents open-mouthed. Drones were used in the sky to create various shapes including the Commonwealth Games 2022 logo and the Birmingham bull.

Birmingham's iconic bull mascot in the drone display in July, which also surprised residents
Birmingham’s iconic bull mascot in the drone display in July, which also surprised residents

Bromsgrove’s unexpected light show at the weekend also caused a ripple of excitement and joy from those not so fearful, especially from families enjoying the free spectacular.

Comments on social media included “it was awesome” and “we were at my sister’s hen do at a friend’s house in Barnt Green and it was amazing to watch! Unexpected highlight of the party.”

Ben and Chris are looking at using the hi-tech pyrotechnics more in the Midlands later this year for ‘Fireworks In Flight’ sessions. It would combine Chris’ light show expertise with Ben’s culinary skills for events. They plan to explain more on Ascott’s Facebook page and website when it is ready.

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