A new study by a national research group has found that the skies are getting more crowded - with UFOs.
"We were surprised to learn there were so many reports last year," said astronomer Chris Rutkowski, research coordinator for Ufology Research of Manitoba (UFOROM), which collects and studies UFO reports in Canada. "There were 284 UFO sightings reported in Canada in 1997, up about 10 per cent from 1996."
Last year's cases ranged from a group of people chased by a flying saucer near Tuktoyaktuk to a giant boomerang buzzing a 20-year Coast Guard veteran in Sault Ste. Marie.
Rutkowski said sightings reported to researchers and UFO groups from BC to the Maritimes were collected by UFOROM and added to a database for statistical analyses.
Among the findings:
o Most UFOs were reported in the provinced of British Columbia (35%) and Ontario (25%).
o UFOs were seen in winter as likely as summer; no national monthly trend was found.
o Almost three-quarters of all UFOs are seen at night, and most of these around 11:00 p.m.
o Most UFOs are watched for a long time; the average length of observation was 20 minutes.
o UFOs are witnessed by more than one person at a time; most cases have two witnesses.
o The typical Hollywood-style flying-saucer-shaped UFOs are now less common than triangular ones.
o Only 4.6% of all the UFO reports were labelled "higher-quality unknowns"; most UFO sightings were either misidentifications of things such as planes or planets, or the reports didn't have enough information to reach a conclusion.
"None of these 'unknowns' prove there are aliens out there," Rutkowski said, "but we are left with some cases which investigators cannot explain."
For additional information, contact:
o UFO*BC, 604-432-4113
o MUFON Ontario, 416-532-9371
o SOS OVNI (Quebec), 514-536-0140
o MUFON Nova Scotia, 902-832-1984
o Chris Rutkowski through UFOROM, 204-269-7553
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Original file name: CNI - Canada UFOs.1997
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