The Phoenix Lights (sometimes referred to as the “lights over Phoenix”) were a series of widely sighted optical phenomena (generally unidentified flying objects) that occurred in the skies over the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada, and the Mexican state of Sonora on March 13, 1997. A repeat of the lights occurred February 6, 2007, and was filmed by the local Fox News TV station.
A similar incident occurred April 21, 2008. This incident was later revealed to be prank–flares attached to helium balloons.
Lights of varying descriptions were seen by thousands of people between 19:30 and 22:30 MST, in a space of about 300 miles, from the Nevada line, through Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson. There were two distinct events involved in the incident: a triangular formation of lights seen to pass over the state, and a series of stationary lights seen in the Phoenix area.
The United States Air Force (USAF) identified the second group of lights as flares dropped by A-10 Warthog aircraft which were on training exercises at the Barry Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona. Witnesses claim to have observed a huge carpenter’s square-shaped UFO, containing lights or possibly light-emitting engines. Fife Symington, the governor at the time, was one witness to this incident.
Watch video - The Phoenix Lights
At about 18:55 PST (6:55 PM PST), (19:55 MST [7:55 PM MST]), a man reported seeing a V-shaped object above Henderson, Nevada. He said it was about the "size of a (Boeing) 747", sounded like "rushing wind", and had six lights on its leading edge. The lights reportedly traversed northwest to the southeast.
An unidentified former police officer from Paulden, Arizona is claimed to have been the next person to report a sighting after leaving his house at about 20:15 MST (8:15 PM MST). As he was driving north, he reputedly saw a cluster of reddish or orange lights in the sky, comprising four lights together and a fifth light trailing them. Each of the individual lights in the formation appeared to the witness to consist of two separate point sources of orange light. He returned home and through binoculars watched the lights until they disappeared south over the horizon.
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Lights were also reportedly seen in the areas of Prescott and Prescott Valley. At approximately 20:17 MST, callers began reporting the object was definitely solid because it blocked out much of the starry sky as it passed over.
John Kaiser was standing outside with his wife and sons in Prescott Valley, when they noticed a cluster of lights to the west-northwest of their position. The lights formed a triangular pattern, but all of them appeared to be red, except the light at the nose of the object, which was distinctly white. The object, or objects, which had been observed for approximately 2-3 minutes with binoculars, then passed directly overhead the observers, they were seen to "bank to the right", and they then disappeared in the night sky to the southeast of Prescott Valley. The altitude could not be determined, however it was fairly low and made no sound whatsoever.
The National UFO Reporting Center received the following report from the Prescott area:
"While doing astrophotography I observed five yellow-white lights in a "V" formation moving slowly from the northwest, across the sky to the northeast, then turn almost due south and continue until out of sight. The point of the "V" was in the direction of movement. The first three lights were in a fairly tight "V" while two of the lights were further back along the lines of the "V"'s legs. During the NW-NE transit one of the trailing lights moved up and joined the three and then dropped back to the trailing position. I estimated the three light "V" to cover about 0.5 degrees of sky and the whole group of five lights to cover about 1 degree of sky".
At the town of Dewey, 10 miles south of Prescott, Arizona, six people saw a large cluster of lights while driving northbound on Highway 69. The five adults and a youth stopped their car to observe the lights which were directly overhead when they exited the car. The lights appeared to hover for several minutes. The caller, who was an experienced flyer, said that the object was so large that he could clench his fist and hold it at arm's length and still not completely cover the light. He estimated the object to be not over 1,000 feet above the ground and that it was moving at a considerably slower pace than an aircraft would fly. Calls to the UFO centre were also received from Chino Valley, Tempe, and Glendale.
First sighting from Phoenix
Tim Ley and his wife Bobbi, his son Hal and his grandson Damien Turnidge first saw the lights of the craft when they were above Prescott Valley about 65 miles away from them. At first they appeared to them as five separate and clearly distinct lights in an arc shape like they were on top of a balloon, but they soon realized the lights were moving towards them. Over the next ten or so minutes they continued coming closer and the distance between the lights increased and they took on the shape of an upside down V. Eventually when a couple of miles away the witnesses could make out a shape that looked like a carpenter's square with the five lights set into it, with one at the front and two on each side. Soon this "craft" was coming right down the street where they lived about 100 to 150 feet above them, traveling so slowly it appeared to hover and not making a sound. It then passed over their heads and went on through a V opening in the peaks of the mountain range towards Squaw Peak Mountain and beyond toward the direction of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. When the triangular formation entered the Phoenix area, Mitch Stanley, an amateur astronomer, observed the lights using a Dobsonian telescope outfitted with a TELEVUE 32mm Plössl eyepiece, which produces 43x magnification. After observing the lights, he told his mother, who was present at the time, that the lights were aircraft.
Even though former Phoenix Councilwomen and Vice Mayor, Frances Emma Barwood, received over 700 reports of mile wide V or boomerang shaped craft and orbs, Mitch Stanley's report was the only one publicized in the Arizona print media.
In addition to the triangular formation, a separate phenomenon occurred in the Phoenix area. A series of lights appeared, one by one, and then were extinguished one by one. At this point many widely publicized videos and photographs were taken.
Bill Greiner, a cement driver hauling a load down a mountain north of Phoenix, described the second group of lights: "I'll never be the same. Before this, if anybody had told me they saw a UFO, I would've said, 'Yeah, and I believe in the tooth fairy'. Now I've got a whole new view. I may be just a dumb truck driver, but I've seen something that don't belong here"
Greiner stated that the lights hovered over the area for in excess of 2 hours.
The Official admission;
In March 2007, former Arizona Governor Fife Symington III said that he had witnessed one of the "crafts of unknown origin" during the 1997 event, but noted that he did not go public with the information.
Shortly after the lights, Symington held a press conference, stating that "they found who was responsible". He proceeded to make light of the situation by bringing his aide on stage dressed in an alien costume. (Dateline, NBC). In an interview with The Daily Courier in Prescott, Arizona, Symington said, "I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people. I don't know why people would ridicule it".
Symington had earlier said, "It was enormous and inexplicable. Who knows where it came from? A lot of people saw it, and I saw it too. It was dramatic. And it couldn't have been flares because it was too symmetrical. It had a geometric outline, a constant shape..
Symington also noted that he requested information from the commander of Luke Air Force Base, the general of the National Guard, and the head of the Department of Public Safety. But none of the officials he contacted had an answer for what had happened, and were also "perplexed".
Later, he responded to an Air Force "explanation" that the lights were flares: "As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man made object I'd ever seen. And it was certainly not high-altitude flares because flares don't fly in formation".
Frances Barwood, the 1997 Phoenix city councilwoman who launched an investigation into the event, said that of the over 700 witnesses she interviewed, "The government never interviewed even one"
Wikipedia Link on the Phoenix lights