By Dennis BalthaserI rarely investigate UFO sightings, primarily because I decided years ago to concentrate my research on other areas of Ufology, rather than sightings, abductions, etc. I do however maintain an interest in some of the better-documented sighting cases such as the Phoenix lights several years ago and the Mexico City mass sightings of the 90’s, and follow reports of sightings, abductions, crop circles and other Ufological events with interest from a distance. Occasionally a sighting will attract my attention and I try to keep as informed as possible, usually until it either “slips through the cracks” and is forgotten, is proven to be a hoax, or interest diminishes and nothing more is reported. Many times those in authority with the ability to reveal the factual information simply write it off as something mundane and explainable. The better researchers however usually don’t accept those conclusions, keeping pressure on to determine the truth when possible.
Such is this case with the recent sighting at 4:30pm (Central Time) on November 7, 2006 over United Airlines Gate C 17 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, and it is my hope that pressure will remain on those in authority until the truth of this event emerges.
On that date, United Airlines and Federal authorities were notified that approximately a dozen witnesses were observing a small round, metallic appearing, disc-shaped object, hovering above Gate C 17. The object was first spotted by an employee on the Gate ramp, pushing back Flight 446, which was departing Chicago for Charlotte, North Carolina. The employee reported to his supervisors that the object was almost directly over his location at Gate C 17, below the cloud cover at about 1,300 feet and appeared to be round and spinning. Other United Airlines employees, (as well as pilots) witnessed the object, which was apparently visible for approximately two minutes, before suddenly accelerating straight up at a very high speed, shooting through the overcast sky at about 1,900 feet at the time. It appeared to leave a hole in the cloud as it sped upward.
So what we have in this sighting is what was reported to be a solid object hovering about 1,300 feet above the second busiest airport in the country, witnessed by respectable ground crew employees and pilots, and a sudden erratic movement of the object as it ascended straight up at a high speed leaving a hole in the cloud and reported to authorities. As I would expect the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), said it must have been a weird weather phenomenon. (At least it wasn’t a weather balloon with crash test dummies this time according to the FAA). Initially United Airlines denied any knowledge of the event as reported to them by their own employees, later admitting they had interviewed the witnesses and requested reports, but had no authority to investigate the incident themselves.
It’s now been three months since the sighting occurred and was reported, and we still have not been given an explanation by anyone in our government. That is not surprising to me, however my concern lies much deeper than the initial “blow-off remarks” by the FAA that it was a weather phenomenon. The United States is under a terrorist threat and daily the news media reminds us of the status of those threats, and we have had a sighting of “something” hovering over an airline gate at the second busiest airport in the country and no one in authority in the government is willing to come forward and explain what the employees of United Airlines actually witnessed. Luckily for us, the incident is still raising questions as it should, and Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center www.nuforc.org has been in the forefront to keep the investigation open, reporting information as it becomes available, as are several other Internet websites and discussion groups. I’m not saying that what was seen was some terrorist plot, but I am saying if in fact we have to live under that threat as we do daily, someone in the United States government owes an explanation to the general public as to what it was. It would be ridiculous to believe that such an event would not show up in the Intelligence Agencies daily reports, if nothing more than as a concern about National Security.
As to the skeptics or debunkers, I say believe what you want, but as long as I have to live under a terrorist threat I want to know what it was that sat over Gate C 17 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport and then made a hole in the cloud when it sped upward out of sight, with multiple reliable witnesses observing it. Skeptics always insist that witnesses are not credible or reliable. Such is not the case with this incident. Some have reported that United Airlines instructed these witnesses initially to not talk about it, so who is reliable in this case? Undoubtedly, United Airlines was probably totally unprepared for this incident, but restricting freedom of speech of their employees is not comforting when terrorist activities or airport security are in question.
Speaking of the witnesses, these are people that have worked in the aviation industry for years, and are familiar with aircraft and weather conditions in most cases. To see a metallic object hover over the gate a mere 1,300 feet above them, and then disappear through a cloud leaving a hole was not what they would normally have seen at Gate C 17, while performing their duties.
Another concern I have is why it took so long for any information to surface about the sighting, when the Chicago Tribune newspaper finally broke the story in early January 2007, almost 2 months after it had been posted on the National UFO Reporting Center’s web site? And how did the news media handle the story? As an example, Anderson Cooper of CNN made light of it as has been done in past years when a UFO story finally makes it to the mainstream media, and the media’s agenda is directed to a pre-determined conclusion, as with many TV documentaries on the subject of Ufology.
There have been several instances where photographs of the alleged craft have shown up on the internet, all so far having been generally agreed on to have been hoaxes. This too is a common practice with the computer equipment that is readily available today to alter photographs. Hopefully of the several witnesses that saw this incident, one perhaps will come forward with information that can be verified as being accurate, providing a photo was actually taken.
Another consideration in addition to my thoughts above about terrorists is safety. Would an unidentified craft (metallic object) hovering at 1,300 feet not be a safety concern for the hundreds of flights in and out of O’Hare daily? There are several obvious reasons why someone in authority should be held accountable for explaining to the public and especially to the witnesses what it was that they saw on November 7, 2007 at O’Hare airport in Chicago.
I will continue to monitor this incident and hope that enough pressure can be generated through good research and investigation, or Freedom of Information requests, so that a factual, truthful explanation will be forthcoming. We should not let this one fall between the cracks as many have in the past.