'Burning planes or rockets' spotted flying near Heathrow and over Surrey - it was a publicity stunt

Planes trailing smoke with fire coming out of them flying through the air at dusk
-Credit: (Image: @JPWR_1984)

It looked like space junk burning up in the atmosphere, a wave of missiles heading towards London, or a 'f***ing plane or something on fire' - but the bizarre sight near Heathrow Airport was none of those. Some Londoners were left in confusion on Friday night (May 24) as a fiery air display over Thorpe Park, seen for miles around, was mistaken for a dusk assault on the capital. Rest assured, the planes weren't actually on fire.

It was just an airshow for the opening of Thorpe Park's new ride Hyperia, which the theme park says is the tallest and fastest in the UK. The ride, which opened on Friday, includes 995m of track, is 72m tall and has the tallest loop in Europe, and does a top speed of 80mph, according to the owners.

But as thousands of theme park fanatics descended on Chertsey, Surrey, to have a go on the new ride, not everyone was aware of the air-display put on to mark the opening night. UB1UB2, a neighbourhood news account for West London, shared a woman's video, and said: "Many Londoners spotted a rocket-like thing flying across the skies yesterday morning, any idea what it could be."

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While the post said it was in the morning, it appeared to be at dusk. The clueless woman, driving down a nearby motorway, spotted the 'burning planes' and said: "Oh my f**king God, there's a f**king plane or something on fire... What the f**k. What in f**k's name is that? Holy sh*t f**k. What the f**k is that? What, in f**k's name, is that? Nah. Holy sh*t."

The comments, were, unsurprisingly, full of suggestions about drone defence, burnt up satellites, Russian missiles, and autobots. Fortunately, it was just Thorpe Park putting on a show for the new ride, which was apparent from a number of other videos of the show taken from inside the theme park and posted to social media at the same time.

Sadly for Thorpe Park, the buzz around Hyperia ended abruptly on Saturday as it announced the ride would be closed 'due to unforeseen circumstances' from Sunday until at least Wednesday (May 29).

"We apologise for the disappointment this will cause and we are working hard to reopen Hyperia as soon as possible, and will keep people updated via our website and social media," the theme park's statement added.

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