Google Maps: Mysterious fireballs spotted in South China sea – what are they?

3 min

12 shares, 81 points

Google Maps has been helping users gain a new perspective of the world since 2005. Using satellite images the application lets viewers gain a birds-eye view of the world and map their way through foreign lands. In recent years, users have noticed it is also hugely successful at helping them find unexpected and mysterious things.

Recently one user was surveying the South China sea from above when they noticed something particularly strange in one section.

A cluster of orange, glowing orbs appear to have gathered in one location between Vietnam and The Philippines.

While the surrounding crystal blue waters appear normal, with clusters of coral and sea life apparent beneath the surface the glowing balls of “fire” stand out dramatically.

The scene was so bizarre a Google Maps viewer posted it to Reddit begging the question: “Any ideas what this might be?”

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Google Maps: What are these bizarre orbs in the South China sea? (Image: Getty Images)

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Google Maps: A reddit user spotted the bright, glowing dots in the sea (Image: Google Maps)

The user described the orbs as “strange red glowing dots or fireballs”.

Are these dots actually balls of fire caused by a bizarre natural occurrence?

Or perhaps they are a mysterious and somewhat Scifi entity?

While the comments are largely sparse of resolute answers, one user has suggested they could be “fishing operations” set up in the sea.


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Fishing operations are common in this area, however, there is no definitive confirmation that this is what it is.

The scene remains largely open to interpretation.

This isn’t the first time something bizarre has been spotted from above.

Elsewhere in the world one user was baffled when they found a full-sized aeroplane crashed in the middle of the field.

The incident occurred in Somalia, just metres from a dirt road.

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Google Maps: The scene unfolds in the South China Sea (Image: Google Maps)

The scene shows a field, with foliage lining its sides and the shadow of a fallen aircraft nestled amongst it all. n a bid to discover what happened the user did their own research and found out that the plane was an A300 model which crashed in 2015.

They wrote: “This appears to be the A300 that crashed north of Mogadishu in 2015. The details around the crash are not exactly clear with some conflicting info. But essentially the aircraft failed to land and ran out of fuel, pilots had to ditch the aircraft north of the city.

“The rectangles around the plane appear to be a lemon drying field.”

According to the Aviation Herald, the flight was a Tristar Air Airbus A300-B4 performing a freight flight from Belgium to Somalia via Egypt.

While there were no passengers travelling on the plane, there were six crew members.

The flight was carrying 40 tons of perishables, noted to be frozen food supplies packaged with carbon dioxide, on behalf of the United Nations.

Local police reported the aircraft had suffered problems with the landing gear prompting the flight crew to instigate an emergency landing.

Thankfully no one travelling on the plane was fatally injured onboard, however, two occupants received minor injuries.

Meanwhile, the plane itself was left damaged beyond repair, abandoned in the field and still viewable on Google to this day.

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