Optical Illusion Sparks Search For Downed Plane

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After seeing the illusion for themselves, authorities who launched a large-scale search last weekend to find a plane stuck in trees near Darwin Airport, Australia, said witnesses were right to report it. Multiple witnesses who contacted authorities last Sunday just after 6 p.m. local time claimed to have seen the plane through light rain as it sat stuck in mangroves. The "aircraft" is actually the meeting of two roof lines visible from a distance at a particular angle. Unfortunately, the misunderstanding was not resolved before a land-based search effort involved police and an aerial search involved a CareFlight helicopter. In the full light of day, authorities who traveled to the point from which the reports were made said witnesses did the right thing by alerting authorities. "I've actually seen it, myself" Duty Superintendent Mike Murphy told ABC news. "It's remarkable how it looks like a light aircraft pointing out into the ocean."

The fact that the view is not far from Darwin airport's flight path and that it was spotted at dusk, and on a rainy night, likely contributed to the misunderstanding, authorities said. "It would be easy to misinterpret it as a light aircraft," Murphy said.