[CNI News thanks Rebecca Schatte for forwarding this article, which appeared in the Sierra Vista (Arizona) Herald/Bisbee Daily Review on Sunday, September 24, 1995.]
by Joe Hinton.
At least three people claim they have [recently] seen UFOs in skies near Douglas and Bisbee [Arizona] in the past week. And an official with the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle, Wash., says they are not the only ones.
Aviation officials say they haven't seen anything that could explain the reports.
Heather Castner, a 17-year-old Douglas High School student and her grandmother, Earline Edinger, 64, say they saw a strange cluster of lights in the sky near Douglas about 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 14. Castner said they were driving home from church north on Leslie Canyon Road at the Cochise County Fairgrounds when she first saw what she thought was a cluster of helicopters or airplanes flying in the distance.
"I remember thinking that they couldn't possibly fly so close together," she said. That's when Castner realized the lights were coming from a single object that had a pair of "very bright" lights alternating on and off at the top. Castner said she tried but could not see the object's body. "It was like totally invisible except for the lights," she said. "I'd never seen any air- craft like that," Edinger said. "It was hard to pay attention because I was driving, but I remember seeing these extremely bright lights."
Retired Bisbee shoe store owner John Ortega said he also thought he was watching a group of helicopters when he saw lights over the Mule Mountains about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday while driving north on Naco Highway near the junction with Highway 92. "It was a very bright light in the shape of a thick, heavy pancake," Ortega said. "I remember thinking how bright it was for the middle of the day." Ortega said he didn't think much of the object, occasionally looking at it as he drove. "Then I looked up and the next thing I know it went zip and was gone," he said. "Almost instantaneously it just disappeared." That night, Ortega said he saw a strange cluster of lights as he looked north in the sky from the front porch of his Manzanita Street home off Naco Highway. Ortega said he and his wife often sit out to watch satellites that pass in the eastern sky around 10 p.m. "I thought it was a plane or something, but it didn't move so I thought maybe it was a star," Ortega said. The next night, Ortega remembered the lights when he sat outside. "When I looked for the lights, they weren't there. I thought that was very strange," Ortega said.
Libby Army Airfield officials said no military aircraft taking off from Fort Huachuca flew more than 15 miles from the post on the dates the UFOs were sighted. "That doesn't even put them close to where the reports were made," said Bill Lopez, a post spokesman. TRW's unmanned aerial vehicle flight tests in Douglas were also grounded at that time, Lopez said. Joint Task Force 6, the Army support group for drug fighting, also has aircraft in southeastern Arizona at times. But officials could not be reached for comment Friday. Cochise County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Carol Capas said Sheriff John Pintek is usually notified when task force air operations are in the area. "Normally they notify us, but there have been times when they didn't. But as far as I know there were no task force operations" at the time of the UFO sightings, Capas said.
UFO sightings in the Southwest have inundated the Seattle-based National UFO Reporting Center, said its director, Peter Davenport. Davenport said there has been an increase in UFO sightings in the Southwest since July 1994. In August, a woman driving with her granddaughter near the Magma copper mine in Superior described seeing an object in the sky similar to what Ortega and Edinger reported, Davenport said. "We are utterly flabbergasted by the lack of coverage by the press," Davenport said.
Ortega said what he saw has changed his opinions about unearthly objects. "I'm the kind of person who doesn't believe in that sort of thing. But since this happened its made me think maybe there's something to it," he said.
Original file name: CNI - AZ UFO Reports 10.5
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