Yep, you read that right. A birthday helium balloon drifted into India this week, prompting national panic and a hailstorm of aerial gunfire.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) announced this week that they had picked up “a shiny, unidentified object” on radar entering Indian airspace and took immediate action to take it down.
The object in question was a helium balloon with the words “Happy Birthday” on it (made by CTI Industries in Illinois, according to The Quint) that had apparently drifted across the border from Pakistan.
According to the IAF statement, the Standard Operating Procedure was to shoot the helium balloon down, which is what they did, with a spray of 97 bullets from the guns of a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet.
The statement added, “on analysis of the debris it was established that there was no dangerous payload,” but Indian officials maintained suspicion that the helium balloon may have been a way to test the country’s response time.
Likely, the balloon just escaped and drifted over the border with the winds. However, with international tension high around the world, governments do not seem to be leaving anything to chance these days.
There does not seem to be any kind of official record for this type of thing, but we think this may be the first time in world history that a fighter jet fought a Happy Birthday helium balloon.
And for the (new) record:
Jet – 1
Helium balloon – 0