Tobias Lindgren, a UFO investigator with non-profit group UFO-Sweden, said there are usually many New Year's reports due to people mistaking the flying lanterns for UFOs and investigators are expecting even more reports this year as rules took effect in November allowing Swedes to release the hot air lanterns without a permit, Swedish news agency TT reported Monday.
"A lot of the reports at New Year's are triggered by the Thai lanterns," Lindgren said. "Every year, I investigate between 50 and 60 sightings. I expect to have a lot to do this year too."
Lindgren said he has gotten skilled at identifying the lanterns from a distance.
"People think the lanterns are UFOs, but I recognize them immediately. Some people are very relieved when they find out," he said.