UFO: Man Claims Responsibility For Phoenix Mystery Lights
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MAN CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR PHOENIX MYSTERY LIGHTS
By Hanna Scott
April 23, 2008
A Phoenix man says he caused the red light display that mystified thousands
of people as it floated across the north Phoenix sky Monday night.
The man, who did not want to be identified, said he used fishing line to
attach road flares to helium-filled balloons, then lit the flares and
launched them a minute apart from his back yard. He said he believed
turbulence created by a passing jet caused the balloons to move around.
Lino Mailo said he saw his next-door neighbor launch the balloons.
"I saw the guy releasing the balloons with the flares on them," Mailo said.
"There is no doubt that they came from here."
He added, "I don't think it's a cool prank because it can panic people."
Phoenix Police helicopter pilot Bruce Bates, who saw the lights, said the
balloons explanation makes sense.
"People say they saw different shapes -- a square, a diamond, an arrow, all
these different shapes. Well, that's just the balloons moving around in the
wind currents," he said.
Some people will always think the lights were UFOs, Bates said.
"I think people want to believe what they want to believe."
A sky lantern company's web site said skylanterns can last for up to 20
minutes, rise about a mile high and can travel for miles.
Valley astronomer Steve Kates, better known as Dr. Sky, believes there's a
reasonable explanation for the lights, although he doesn't know what it is.
"I believe life abounds in the universe, but I just have a hard time
accepting many of the things that I'm hearing, or seeing, that it has a
direct relationship to people or creatures coming from another world. Why
not land? Why not show yourself? And where's the evidence?" he said.
While the Air Force and other military agencies said the lights were not
connected to any of their operations, Kates said, "The Air force and every
other government agency, of course, has the opportunity to deny that their
aircraft or anything that they were doing was going on at the time that we
saw something in the sky."
He said it's unlikely the lights were some kind of alien craft from outer
space and said an explanation probably will surface after videos and
pictures are analyzed.
The lights brought back memories of lights that hovered over the same area
of Phoenix for about three hours on March 13, 1997.
Why does the Valley have strange light sightings?
"Clear skies, open spaces, wide skies to look at. That's probably one of the
reasons why we're seeing it," Kates says.
He says it's really all kind of exciting, bringing special attention to the
"Maybe the governor will proclaim the state of Arizona "the UFO-sighting
state" or have a new license plate. Who knows?" he said.
Dozens of listeners called News/Talk 92-3 KTAR just after 8 p.m. Monday,
reporting they were watching the four mystery lights.
"From my position, it looked like they were just hanging, not moving at
all," said one man, who called 92-3's "Gaydos After Dark." He said he
"absolutely" saw something.
A woman caller said, "It looked like four red tower lights, but it was
pretty high up in the air. I called my husband and he said, 'Get home,
what's wrong with you?'"
A man in north Phoenix told CBS-5: "They were about 3,000 feet high,
approximately. They looked as though they were kind of hovering or floating
from west to east, very slowly. They were up there for 15 or 20 minutes."
Callers said the lights appeared at one point in a straight line, and also
formed a square and then a triangle. They were visible for about 15 minutes
around 8 p.m. before heading to the east and disappearing.
Deer Valley Airport, which was the closest air field to the lights, had no
explanation for them. Neither did Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
or Luke Air Force Base, which said it had no jets flying at the time.
NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said its command center
at Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center in
Colorado Springs, Colo., had no information on the lights. It referred
people to the American Meteor Society, Smithsonian Astrophysican Observatory
and the Defense Department's Joint Space Operations Center.
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said, "A
lot of people were reporting seeing some strange lights in the sky around
Phoenix last night. Air traffic controllers at the control tower at Sky
Harbor saw them. But, we have no idea what they were."
Gregor added, tongue-in-cheek, "It could be aliens coming down to save us
from ourselves, you never know. The only thing I do know is if they were
coming down, they weren't talking to air traffic controllers."
On March 13, 1997, thousands of people reported seeing a v-shaped formation
of lights over north Phoenix. They lasted about three hours. Some described
them as forming a carpenter's square.
Among those who saw the lights in 1997 was former Gov. Fife Symington, who
initially played down the episode. However, he said last year that he
believes the lights came from "crafts of unknown origin" and, "It remains a
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Published by David Sunfellow
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