Wade Goodwyn Reports on the UFO Sightings on 'All Things Considered'
Faster than a speeding bullet — and bigger than a Wal-Mart.
That's how residents near the west Texas town of Stephenville described an object they spotted in the sky one night last week.
Dozens of people — including a pilot and a police officer — said a UFO hovered over the farming community for about five minutes last Tuesday before streaking away into the night sky.
Pilot Steve Allen saw the object when he was out clearing brush off a hilltop near the town of Selden. Allen described the unidentified object as being an enormous aircraft with flashing strobe lights — and it was totally silent.
He said the UFO sped away at more than 3,000 mph, followed by two fighter jets that were hopelessly outmaneuvered. Allen said it took the aircraft just a few seconds to cross a section of sky that it takes him 20 minutes to fly in his Cessna.
The veteran pilot said the UFO, an estimated half-mile wide and a mile long, was "bigger than a Wal-Mart."
Military Dismisses Sighting
The Stephenville Empire-Tribune, which has written about the mysterious object, said about 40 people saw the thing — though some were too sheepish to admit the sighting until others came forward.
Law enforcement officer Lee Roy Gaitan said he was walking to his car when he saw a red glow that reminded him of pictures he'd seen of an erupting volcano.
He said the object was suspended 3,000 feet in the air. Gaitan said he was so awestruck that he called his son to come and see — but he didn't talk much about the sighting until he saw a story about a UFO in the local paper.
Military officials, however, were skeptical. They said the residents are letting their imaginations run wild and passed it off as an optical illusion. They said it was likely nothing more than a reflection of sunlight on two airliners.
Officials at a nearby air force base also said their fighter pilots didn't chase down anything that night.
The incident was eerily similar to a UFO sighting a little more than a year ago at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
As many as 12 United Airlines employees spotted the object and filed reports with United.
Reported by Wade Goodwyn; written and edited by Deborah Tedford