What happened in downtown Los Angeles on March 21 seemed like straight out of a sci-fi movie, except the light streak wasn’t a meteor or even an alien invasion.
On twilight Wednesday, some LA residents found themselves watching what appeared to be a massive fireball streaking across the skies before it eventually vanished from their eyesight.
It turned out to be a new Red Bull stunt to celebrate a phenomenon called a supermoon, which will be the last for 2019. It featured a pair of its winged-suit Air Force jumpers with pyrotechnics, flying at more than 120 miles an hour across the metro.
Death-Defying Marketing Stunt
The lack of advisory from Red Bull was enough to stir panic and questions among those who saw the streak of light. Social media immediately went abuzz, guessing what it could be.
The Los Angeles Police Department also joined the fray perhaps after it had received calls from concerned citizens.
“PSA: A meteor did not crash into Downtown Los Angeles, and no, it's not an alien invasion...just a film shoot. This is Tinseltown after all,” the headquarters said on Twitter.
It is unclear whether the Red Bull stunt was a marketing promotion or a commercial shoot, however.
"LED lights and sparkling pyrotechnics that lit up the night sky as the sun set and the supermoon rose," said the brand in its statement.
Red Bull, though, is known for its advertising campaigns that try to stick to its brand slogan, which is “Give You Wings.”
In 2013, Felix Baumgartner, a daredevil and an Austrian pilot, defied gravity with his supersonic skydiving as part of the company’s Stratos campaign. In the project, the Fearless Felix found himself free-falling from a height of 127,000 feet above the Earth’s surface at a speed of more than 833.9 mph. That’s 140 mph above the speed barrier.
Don’t Take Meteor Strikes Lightly, Though
While LA residents can breathe a sigh of relief, meteor showers and strikes are not uncommon events. In 2017, a meteor strike that went across Lapland lit up the sky, turning the night into daytime for a few seconds. Its passage coincided with at least three more similar events in different areas of the globe.
About five years before, a Norwegian man narrowly missed a meteorite as he skydived. The object, which was on its last phases before impact, swooshed past him at 200 mph.
It’s rare to hear fatalities due to meteor showers or strikes, although it doesn’t mean they are harmless. In 2013, a meteorite exploded in Russia, injuring over 1,200 people and destroying 7,200 buildings.
The object already weighed around 12,000 tons and had a diameter of at least 17 meters, yet experts believe it was still small compared to possible flying objects that could hit the Earth, such as an asteroid.
In the meantime, catch the Red Bull “meteor strike” in this video: