FAA and FBI leaning towards ‘balloon theory’ for LA Jetpack Man

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The United States Federal Investigation Bureau and the Federal Aviation Agency say the jetpack man, seen by several pilots on approach to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), may have been a stray party balloon.

“The FAA has worked closely with the FBI to investigate reported jetpack sightings in the Los Angeles area. So far, none of these sightings have been verified,” FAA and FBI said in joint statements to NBC Los Angeles. 

“One working theory is that pilots might have seen balloons,” the statements said.

A video, filmed by a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter in November 2020, and obtained by NBC LA in November 2021, might have been instrumental in developing this theory. 

The video shows a human-sized balloon, modelled on Jack Skellington, a character from 1993 Tim Burton film ‘A Nightmare Before Christmas’.

According to the FBI statement, it is possible that all five sightings (four of which were reported between August and December 2020, with the fifth reported in July 2021) could well have been different human-shaped balloons that drifted into the flightpath of the aircraft approaching LAX.

Throughout a year-long investigation, the FBI and FAA have not been able to find additional witnesses or video evidence of the Jetpack Man, besides the reports from pilots. 

One report from July 28, 2021, which was made by a pilot of a Kalitta Air Cargo Boeing 747 on approach to LAX, described the Jetpack Man as wearing a “red outfit”.

A short video, captured from an aircraft in December 2020, revealed the Jetpack Man as having a distinctly different shape to Jack Skellington, lending credence to the theory that different balloons, or even objects, could have been responsible for the sightings. 

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