A video from China has had the internet doing flips after it showed moving vehicles mysteriously stop in their tracks and levitate up before falling back to the ground. The incredible footage looks like a scene from an X-Men movie but what caused these cars to rise up off the road? An earthquake? Aliens? Was it a hoax using camera trickery or was it something altogether something far more simple?

The CCTV footage shows an intersection in Xingtai, in southern Hebei province, flowing normally until a minivan that approaches the traffic lights seems to hit some imaginary force field where its rear end is dramatically yanked back up a few feet into the air then flipped backwards onto its side. Two other vehicles at the traffic lights at the same time also were lifted off the road and tossed around like toy cars. Pedestrians at the scene were left mystified but, luckily (or, more surprisingly) nobody involved was injured. Maybe just a little dazed and confused.

Levitating cars, solved

The baffling footage has since gone viral with the internet offering its share of conspiracy theories but, sorry, there's no X-Files stuff going on here. The police provided a simple explanation as to why the cars suddenly lifted up. If you watch the video you'll see a road sweeper roll into shot on the right-hand side just before the minivan approaches the lights.

If you've got a keen eye, on the left of the video a faint black line appears before the incident – this is a thick cable or wire that accidentally got wrapped around one of the road sweeper's brushes, essentially creating a trip wire. So there you have it. A simple explanation but a rather remarkable looking event nonetheless.