Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Unknown Object Falls From the Sky in Needles, California

This is the first news story I've posted on which a news team from my hometown of Las Vegas has reported. I must admit, this is fairly exciting. I can't really pinpoint why, maybe because I can actually talk to the report who did the story face to face if I wanted to. Anyway, here it is.

Channel 8 Eyewitness News recently reported that an unknown object with a "turquoise hue" streaked across the sky on the morning of May 14 and struck the dry, cracked earth near the small town of Needles, CA; about 100 miles south of Las Vegas. This story was reported on by Channel 8 chief investigative reporter George Knapp, a local newsman with the reputation of being the "UFO guy" due to his numerous reports on Area 51 over the years.

Knapp talked to two witnesses of the event, one of whom was Frank Costigan. Costigan, who worked as the chief of airport security at Los Angeles International Airport for seven years, said the mystery object flew out of the northeast, heading southwest, traveling very fast, at one point slowing down and then speeding up again.

"'It went behind a hill, and I waited to see if I could hear it crash because as big as it was, it was bound to make noise,' Costigan said. But Costigan never heard a crash."

The second eyewitness was David Hayes, owner of KTOX radio in Needles. Hayes said he saw a formation of dark vehicles getting off the highway hours after the initial impact. He claims the lead vehicle was, "a large truck with a dome on top and a black structure that reminded him of a stealth fighter."

"'It seemed like it was some kind of surveillance vehicle -- four-wheel drive. It had government plates, U.S. government plates and behind it were a couple of vans that looked like support vehicles,' said Hayes."

Hayes claims to have been followed back to the radio station by one of the men in the vehicles, men who Hayes described as a having a "military bearing" but were not in uniform. Knapp asked Hayes if they had a "Men in Black" feel, to which Hayes replied, "Absolutely." Knapp then refers to the presumed government agents later on in the article as the "Men in Black." This decision by Knapp seems a bit irresponsible to me, since Hayes clearly described the men as not in uniform.

A third witness popped up, who was only ever referred to as "Bob on the river." Bob claims he saw the object from his houseboat on the nearby Colorado River. Bob described the object as having the turquoise hue, and landing with a thump approximately 100 yards from the river.

In an interview with journalist Linda Howe, Bob described the object being carried away by a skycrane helicopter. From Knapp's article:

"Bob says he saw at least five helicopters flying in formation, including a large sky crane. The crane picked up the oval shaped object, still glowing, and flew away, heading in the direction of Las Vegas. One odd detail, the choppers arrived only 17 minutes after the object crashed."

Bob described the object to Hayes as "about the size of a semi-trailer" with an oblong shape. In Howe's article, Bob describes the flames that surrounded the object in more detail:

"Oh, yes, but a turquoise-blue fire with some green in it. And it hit the ground and bounced. But there were many other pieces – there were at least nine other pieces that bounced up in a circle around the turquoise blue-green object."

Knapp claims the radio station received a call from the Laughlin, NV airport, approximately 30 miles north of Needles. The caller from the airport claimed they had seen an influx of so-called "Jenny" planes; the airline that flies workers to military base in Nevada known as Area 51. However, the airport could not confirm this since no one is on duty there after 6pm.

Knapp finished the article by admitting that he could not personally find "Bob on the river," and by promising to keep his readers updated on a few Freedom of Information requests he has filed.

I was pleasantly surprised to not find the words "alien" or "extraterrestrial" anywhere in this article. The article does use the acronym "UFO" in the title, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and presume they mean "Unidentified Falling Object." The Men in Black thing was a little goofy, but Knapp does have to make the article interesting.

The object seems, to me at least, to have been a satellite. That would explain the semi-trailer size and the lack of explosion on impact. Most Earth-orbiting satellites run on solar power stored in batteries; that is, contain little that would conceivably explode. Only satellites that don't orbit Earth use nuclear power. The large solar panels that accompany most satellites could have given the object its perceived oblong shape. As for the turquoise flames described by "Bob," I have an inquiry pending as to whether satellites are built with materials that would burn turquoise after being exposed to the heat of re-entry.

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