New Delhi - Civil Aviation authorities are baffled by reports from at least 10 aircraft overflying India that they had seen a "ball of fire" in the air, about 300 nautical miles south west of Delhi, which is somewhere over Gujarat.

Sources have told The Sunday Express that all reports came in almost simultaneously, around 1.45 am this morning, and the matter is being investigated.

The description used by pilots, according to their reports, was that it appeared like a "ball of fire, orange in colour and scattered". One pilot, in fact, said it looked like a "meteor shower".

At first, alarmed officials checked whether any aircraft had gone missing or if there was any other disaster in the area. But all this was ruled out by afternoon.

These reports came in mostly from international aircraft overflying Indian territory. These included British Airways, Air France and Malaysian Airlines. In fact, an Air Sahara flight on the Delhi-Mumbai route also reported the same. A non-scheduled high-speed jet, too, is said to have given a similar report.

It's learnt that Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked Air Traffic Control authorities in Delhi to carry out preliminary inquiries into this and submit a report. On the basis of this, the DGCA will decide on the next step and will, possibly, ask the Indian Air Force to look into it as well.

DGCA officials said it is unusual for so many pilots to file similar reports, a fact which indicates they did see "something." However, at altitudes above 26,000 feet, this would be a rare event. They added that any action would be determined upon the preliminary report by the ATC which comes under the Airports Authority of India.

Meanwhile, this has led to speculation whether this had anything to do with Pakistan's short-range missile test that was conducted in the last 24 hours according to an announcement this morning. Pakistan had given a notice to airmen that it would carrying out a test, but the exact time was not notified. Others, however, said it is quite difficult for planes over Gujarat to be able to spot any such activity in Pakistan.