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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 10/3/1996 20:00 (Entered as : Oct 3,1996 20:00)
Reported: 5/15/1999 13:05
Posted: 3/21/2003
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Shape: Rectangle
((NUFORC Note: We have other dramatic reports on file about this incident. At least 7 vehicles stopped on I-25 to look at an object estimated to be "as long as a football field. One teenager is reported to us to have been so upset by the event, that he was taken to a hospital emergency room for treatment. A senior engineer at JPL in Pasadena, CA, was witness to this event, as well.

The object was reported by the press to be a "meteorite." We believe this to be a severely flawed conclusion.))

Thought it was a plane coming FROM the SE (moving NNW), it moved at a very regular plane-like speed. Felt it might have been a military or civilian plane coming to a smooth CRASH. But it was apparent it was a BIG plane and going too fast to make such a maneuveur without hitting I-25. There is only a small airport in SFE and it was not headed there. Pulled over on I-25, fearing it was going to cross our path. It was HUGE, rectangular, like a LADDER on it's side: two parallel rows of white lights connected by "rungs" of white lights. It then stopped and SHOT perpendicular to itself at an AMAZING SPEED.

After a day of shopping, I was returning from Albuquerque to Santa Fe driving my vehicle at the time, a Toyota 4-Runner (with a moonroof, which I NEVER had to look through for any of these events), on I-25 north when at approximately 8p.m., we were approaching Cerrillos Rd. exit in Santa Fe. It was already very dark outside. The person I was with suddenly said, "WOW, look at that star". From the windshield, I saw a "falling star" shoot high in the sky falling in a SOUTHERNLY direction. I've seen MANY shooting stars and continued driving. A moment later, my passenger asked, "Is there an airport around here?" I said SFE Airport which we had already sort of passed. A few seconds later, the passenger said, "Is that a plane? Look at that plane..." I ignored this for a moment because I was watching traffic (which was moderately heavy for 8 p.m.) and I wasn't going to look at everything flying in the sky (seeing airplanes in the clear NM sky is a usual event). But again, the person said, "WOW..look at that that an airplane?" I looked to my right past the passenger and out that window. I was completely amazed. I said, "If that's a plane, it's a 747!!". Coming from the SE, from the Manzano/Ortiz/Sandia mountains (they layer atop each other from that perspective) at about a 30 degree (?) trajectory angle from the ground (it was NEVER above the mountain range) was an incoming "craft" looking very plane-like, regulated, controlled, smooth. It was "landing" at this very regular pace which looked like a perfect landing BUT there is no airport and it was coming in WAY too fast. It was coming right toward I-25. (Note: I-25 is a N/S interstate but as the road passes through Santa Fe, it "hooks" and at certain points one is moving more in an E/W direction). At no time did it occur to either of us that it was a meteor. This was NOT the shooting star we'd seen a moment earlier. It was a unit, again looking like a plane coming in for a too-fast landing. It would have been a great landing if it had another 2000 ft to go (which it did not). Personally, I thought we were seeing a military craft BUT the TWA 800 accident had recently occurred and I thought, "Who's really ever expecting a plane crash?" (Alb. Internat'l Airport is about 55 miles south and I thought, it could be crashing to/from there). I looked to the traffic travelling SOUTH (opposing traffic). We were approaching the St. Francis Dr. exit/entrance now (divided by a wide grassy median)and cars were STOPPING in the opposing direction -- the direction looking toward this oncoming "craft". That's when I got this strange chill and pictured us getting slammed by this "crashing" plane. Out of FEAR rather than voyeurism, I pulled off onto the shoulder, fully expecting this "plane" to cross I-25 or crash into it. Several cars behind me also pulled off at this same moment. As we sat there looking out the passenger side window, it came in CLOSE and was maybe a quarter mile (?) from the highway and looked to be just above treetops/houses! It was ENORMOUS! It was a very geometric object consisting of white lights laid out in a rectangular format looking like a LADDER laid upon one side. Two long rows (one above the other) of white lights connected by "rungs" of white lights at regular intervals. I was not aware of any other color light. The lights just sort of existed -- did NOT radiate or illuminate anything above/below/around themselves. If one stuck out their arm, this "craft" seemed the visual length of a twirling baton. But it was a quarter mile off the road! There was utter SILENCE. It made absolutely no noise at any point during this entire sighting. Then as we watched it in amazement, it just STOPPED and "hovered" for a MICRO-second and then SHOT 90 degrees, perpendicular to itself off to the EAST. It was STARTLING. We were expecting it to crash but it instead did this! And although I HATE to use the term, it SHOT at "warp-speed". I have NEVER seen ANYTHING move so FAST,so silently or so strangely in all my life. We were speechless. We sat there for a moment and I looked at the dashboard clock. It read exactly 8:05 p.m. Shaken, we resumed driving, having to wait for other cars that had pulled over to re-enter the lanes before us. We could NOT believe it. We wondered where it could have possible gone -- it did NOT seem to have crossed I-25 at all but had SHOT into/over? the short foothills of the Sangre De Cristos. We had another 15 miles to drive to my home and could NOT figure out WHERE such a thing COULD have even gone (other than INTO a foothill). It was a VERY disturbing experience. Not really thrilling or exhilirating. It was frightening. As we got in at 8:25, I immediately called my sister in Chicago. Then we watched the 10 pm local news and it was the lead story on all the stations. But they were "wondering" what it was "What was in the sky tonight...was it a meteor...some say it WASN'T!" So, I called one of the stations simply to tell them what we'd experienced and got the "Oh, interesting..." routine. It was all over the papers over the following days -- some people describing what we'd seen; others saying it was a falling star. I wondered how one man in our neighborhoof saw this meteorite "event" which ALL global observatories had failed to detect!! Then in the days that followed, a physicist at Sandia Nat'l Labs was quoted in the papers as saying that what a person had described as it's movements (not my account but the same), it could not have been a meteorite but was perhaps a retrievable satellite or other "craft". NO agency/observatory ANYWHERE tracked a meteor that evening. So I called this physicist who is an "expert" in meteorite behavior. We spoke for 30 minutes. He said NO meteorites were seen and wished he'd seen what we saw. We discussed how meteorites behave, how they break up and are like fire lights, etc...most, of course, disintegate before ever entering the atmosphere. They DO NOT stop, hover or switch directions! I asked, "Why would no one be concerned even if it were 'only' a satellite -- what happened to the warnings ala SKYLAB in the 70's...what if it had been a MISSILE???" In this part of the globe, with GREAT celestial visibility and a large military presence, it oddly seemed NOT to intrique any officials! In Los Angeles, CA, it was seen an HOUR later (even accounting for Daylight Savings)!! UCLA offered a reward to anyone who could find a piece of it...because they felt it was NOT a meteorite. A month later (?), the Sandia Lab physicist I had spoken with was quoted in the papers as saying it was a ricocheting metorite traveling at 186,000mph. For a guy who never saw or recorded it, he had a THEORY! (How it would take so long to get to L.A. is unexplained, of course). It was said that the meteroite landed in Moriarity, NM!! This is 50 miles SOUTH of Santa Fe (the "craft moved NORTH, THEN last I saw, ENE. No fragments were ever found in Moriarity. But then a physicist at Los Alamos Nat'l Labs immediately refuted the Sandia physicist's sudden theory saying that for 40 years, he was an expert in ricocheting meteorites and would NOT have missed one -- they come along every 10,000+ years and are IMPOSSIBLE to miss because they are so powerful and LARGE. They enter earth's atmosphere and then "ricochet" back into space to again immediately re-enter the atmosphere because they are powerhouse meteors!! The person who was with me during this sighting does NOT wish to be identified at this time but would likely answer questions off-the-record.