By BRIAN WEBBPHOENIX — Many Phoenix-area residents reported seeing mysterious red lights in the sky over the north Valley Monday night. Some said they could be seen for miles, leaving many to wonder what was going on.
Those who saw the four lights said they appeared randomly. Some said the lights made shapes — a straight line, a square and a triangle. The lights reportedly were visible for between 15 and 30 minutes at about 8 p.m.
An area man who does not wish to be identified claims that he was behind the mysterious phenomenon.
He told KTVK-TV that after the sun went down Monday night, he tied road flares to four large helium-filled balloons using fishing line. Then he released the balloons one-by-one, at one-minute intervals.
"Very impressed," the man said. "Very bright, and something I'd never seen before."
According to Deer Valley Airport and air traffic controllers at Phoenix Sky Harbor, no planes were on the radar, although people at both locations reportedly saw the lights.
Luke Air Force Base said it had no operations in the air at the time the lights were seen. NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) also confirmed no activity on its radar Monday night.
Some Valley residents said the lights might have been a UFO.
"It was really close to the star, and when it would go really close, and then go fast far away," said Annie Braslawsce. "It was just unbelievable. I thought it was the coolest thing. It was pretty intense."
The man who claims to have launched the flares said an aircraft did get near the balloon-borne lights. He figures that the atmospheric disturbance left in the plane's wake caused the flares to move in a pattern.
Monday night's sighting comes about a month after the 11th anniversary of the famed Phoenix Lights, when thousands of people reported seeing several lights in a "V" formation hovering over the city. The Air Force eventually said those lights were flares, but not everybody believes that explanation.
The man who said he launched Monday's sky show said he thinks the 1997 Phoenix Lights could indeed have had a similar, terrestrial origin — but that it wasn't his doing.