Forwarded by: fwestra@...
Original Date: Wed, 3 May 2000 00:37:28 +0200
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Monday, 1 May, 2000, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Mystery balls fall from the sky
Object in field
Both the objects landed on farms
South Africans are still wondering about the source of two
unidentified falling objects which have crashed to the ground in the
last few days.
The witnesses said it was white-hot when it landed
Police Superintendent Andre Kellerman
The first of the objects landed on a farm near the town of Worcester,
about 100km (60 miles) from Cape Town on Thursday - the second on a
farm in Durbanville, on the outskirts of Cape Town, on Sunday.
Both are described as "big metal balls", the first weighing about 30kg
(65 pounds) and the second about 50kg (110 pounds).
On Sunday police collected the first ball from the farm where it had
Superintendent Andre Kellerman said the Department of Civil Aviation
had asked the police to collect the object and to take statements from
witnesses who had seen it fall.
"They want to investigate the object. The witnesses said it was
white-hot when it landed. It appears to be solid iron and there is a
section which contains bolts. I don't know what it could be,"
Superintendent Kellerman said.
Peter Viljoen, on whose land the ball fell, said farm workers had
heard a noise like two loud gun shots, and had seen the shining ball
falling to the earth.
The impact left an impression in the ground about 20cm (eight inches)
It took more than half an hour before the object was cool enough to
move, Mr Viljoen said.
The second object was bigger, about one metre (three feet) high and
1.5 metres (4.5 feet) long. It has a device resembling a valve at one
Once again, witnesses told of loud bangs as it landed.
The Star newspaper quotes astronomers as saying the balls could be
parts of a decaying satellite, but could not say for certain until
they had inspected them.
Nasa has predicted that parts of a Pegasus satellite would fall to
earth, the astronomers told the newspaper.
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