By James Bryce
MYSTERY continues to surround the actions of a military fighter jet that left expats along the Costa del Sol fearing it was going to crash.
The unidentified aircraft was seen flying ‘erratically’ at low level between Marbella and Sotogrande for about an hour, from 5am on Easter Sunday.
Expat forums have since filled with conspiracy theories as to the pilot’s motives, while local radio stations and the Olive Press newsroom have been inundated with calls.
“It was frightening, I thought it was going to crash into my house,” iTalk FM presenter Maurice Boland told the Olive Press.
“The noise was incredible, it was like standing on the runway behind a jet engine.
“My grandchildren were crying, the dogs were going mad and I could see lights going on in houses all over the place.”
Ellie Grimes, 50, who owns a holiday home close to Selwo Adventure Park, also feared the plane was about to crash after being woken by the noise.
“It was circling round and seemed like it was trying to dump fuel,” she said.
“My husband is interested in aviation and he seemed to think it was in trouble.
“We were watching it from our balcony and at one point it flew about 500-600 feet above the house.
“It was really strange and erratic and the low level stuff was quite scary.”
A helicopter was also reported to have been in the area around the same time, although its motives are similarly shrouded in mystery.
Among the conspiracy theories being touted on message boards such as expatforum.com, include a military training exercise, interception of a drug plane and an investigation of possible UFO sightings.
Other theories included the possibility that it was one of four Spanish F-18s previously involved in the Libya conflict, from the nearby US air base at Moron de la Frontera.
When contacted by the Olive Press, a spokesman for Malaga Airport’s operations centre said: “We can’t give any information about those type of flights.”
When pushed as to the reason why, the spokesman declined to comment.
A spokesman for Gibraltar Airport said they were not aware of the incident as Gibraltar air space – which is only open from 8am to 9pm – was closed at the time.