Federal and local authorities have launched an investigation following a bizarre sighting near Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend: a person apparently flying with a jet pack.
The unusual encounter was first reported by an inbound American Airlines pilot around 6:35 p.m. Sunday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and an air traffic control recording.
“Tower, American 1997. We just passed a guy in a jet pack,” the American Airlines pilot reports to the control tower.
The tower operator, who at first sounds surprised by what he heard, asks the pilot whether the person in the jet pack is on the right or left side of the plane.
“Off the left side, at maybe … 300 yards or so, about our altitude,” the pilot responds.
Moments later, a Southwest Airlines pilot contacts air traffic control to make a similar report.
“We just saw the guy pass by us in a jet pack,’’ the pilot says in the recording.
After the jet pack is spotted a second time at an altitude of about 3,000 feet and 300 yards south of the airport, the tower contacts the pilot of a third flight — in a JetBlue plane that is approaching LAX — to alert him to the strange sighting.
“We heard and we are definitely looking,” the JetBlue pilot responds.
“Only in L.A.,” the air traffic controller responds.
The FAA could not immediately confirm whether a person in a jet pack really was spotted near the airport, but the agency is “looking into these reports” and has alerted local law enforcement, said spokesman Ian Gregor.
The FBI is aware of the incident and is also investigating, spokeswoman Laura Eimiller confirmed.