Pilots spot 'UFOs' near the Channel Islands

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Two airline pilots said they witnessed UFOs off the coast of Alderney on Monday.

Ray Bowyer, 50, a captain with Aurigny Air Services, said that during his flight from Southampton, England, at 3 p.m., he saw a bright-yellow light 10 miles west of Alderney in England. His craft at the time was 30 miles away from the island and had an elevation of 4,000ft.

It was a very sharp, thin yellow object with a green area. It was 2,000ft up and stationary, I thought it was about 10 miles away, although I later realised it was approximately 40 miles from us. At first, I thought it was the size of a 737. But it must have been much bigger because of how far away it was. It could have been as much as a mile wide.

As Bowyer approached Alderney, he noticed another object identical to the first one.

It was exactly the same but looked smaller because it was further away. It was closer to Guernsey. I can’t explain it. At first, I thought it might have been a reflection from a vinery in Guernsey, but that would have disappeared quickly. This was clearly visual for about nine minutes. As I got closer to it, it became clear to me that it was tangible. I was in two minds about going towards it to have a closer look but decided against it because of the size of it. I had to think of the safety of the passengers first. I’m certainly not saying that it was something of another world. All I’m saying is that I have never seen anything like it before in all my years of flying.

Bowyer, who has been flying commercial aircrafts for about 20 years, said that he did file a report on the incident and did contact air traffic controllers during the incident.

Aerial shot of Alderney (centre) and Burhou (upper right)
Image: Smb1001.

Paul Kelly, 31, who was the Jersey Airport air traffic controller on duty during the incident, said that the airport received simultaneous reports from the Aurigny and Blue Island pilot and that the Blue Island pilot had reported a UFO approximately 1,500ft underneath his plane. Kelly noted that the airport was unable to detect the object on their radar.

The pilot from Blue Islands was en route to Jersey at the same time and as he went past Sark he described an object behind him to his left. The description was very similar to Captain Bowyer’s and they described it as being in exactly the same place. But they were looking at it from opposite sides. The Blue Islands plane was at 3,500ft at the time so, again, both pilots placed it at the same altitude. If the object was stationary, our equipment would not have picked it up because the radar would have screened it out.

John Spencer, deputy chairman of the British UFO Research Association, said: "These types of sightings have been reported by pilots - generally accepted to be reliable and sensible observers - since the 1940s and they have excited attention to this day. Such light effects are often popularly thought to represent alien visitors but many UFO researchers believe they more likely represent natural atmospheric phenomena not yet fully understood by science. However, a similar encounter in 1978 over the Bass Straits in Australia, where the pilot was in radio contact with the ground throughout, resulted in the pilot never being heard from again, so these phenomena are important to study."

Nick Pope, who previously worked for the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, said: "While no witnesses are infallible, pilots are trained observers and less likely than most people to misidentify something mundane. The MoD's UFO case files contain several reports from civil and military pilots, some of which were correlated by radar. This is the sort of sighting that is taken seriously and should be investigated thoroughly. While most UFOs can be explained as misidentifications of aircraft, weather balloons, satellites and suchlike, a small percentage are more difficult to explain. This is one of the most intriguing sightings I've heard about in recent years."

The current spokesperson for the UK Ministry of Defence said that they would not be investigating this incident.