NUFORC Sighting 134969

Occurred: 2017-07-04 21:30 Local
Reported: 2017-07-05 22:16 Pacific
Duration: 20-30 minutes
No of observers: 2

Location: Wabasha, MN, USA

Shape: Disk
Characteristics: Lights on object, Emitted beams

15 red-orange discs at Minnesota fireworks

As we have done every year since 2006, my wife and I attended a July 4th public fireworks display presented by the Wabasha Fire Department, not far from the west bank of the Mississippi River, in southeastern Minnesota, some eighty-five miles south from Minneapolis. Shortly after sundown, around 9:00 p.m., we arrived on the east side of the city lagoon, over which the pyrotechnical show would take place. As it began at 9:30 under a clear sky of unlimited visibility---save somewhat less so in the west, where thin clouds had gathered --- with a waxing-gibbous moon rising behind us, three objects appeared, one behind the other, around one thousand-foot altitude or less.

I estimate each of the nearly identical craft was thirty to thirty-five feet in diameter. From underneath them, golden flames projected downward in a rough, splayed pattern. Reflecting in these flames was the reddish-orange underside of the objects. They seemed disc-shaped to me, but my wife wondered if they may have been more spherical, as only the structures’ ventral area might have been illuminated by the fiery discharge streaming from the craft’s bottom section. The three objects were regularly spaced from one another by approximately one hundred twenty feet or one hundred fifty feet, in a line formation that took them from the east, directly above the fireworks display, over which their initially rapid advance slowed to little more than a crawl, before they picked up a bit more speed, while executing a broad, climbing curve toward the west, one craft after another, gradually disappearing into the thin cloud cover. Their construction appeared utterly unaerodynamic, and they seemed to less actually fly, than to be moved, not propelled, across the sky in the manner a stone picked up and transported from one place to another. That, in any case, was the impression their flight made.

During long pauses in the exploding fireworks, we strained our ears, but failed to perceive any sound from the flying objects passing practically overhead. Perhaps five minutes after they became hardly more than faint sparks in the western sky, another group of almost identical craft --- also, perhaps, in threes--approached on precisely the exact, same heading executed in the night sky by their predecessors. Like them, the newcomers arrived speedily, but quickly decelerated, cruising directly above the fireworks, then somewhat increased their velocity to follow the first set of craft identically into the west, no less precisely than if they were riding on a railroad track. Other groups of the same kind of vehicles followed in circa five-minute intervals; all behaved in identical fashion, abiding unswervingly to the same, broadly curving course from east to west. Their only apparent differentiations included color and its intensity. One or two of the objects were entirely bright white, while most were reddish-orange, some more pronounced than others. On three or four of them, I discerned darker, indistinct details lining the illuminated “disc”. At first sight, I assumed for a moment that the objects must have been hot-air balloons, flying lanterns or aerostats of some kind, because they did partially resemble them at a distance. But as they approached nearer, their varying speeds, unvarying course, and downward extending flames immediately identified them as something else. The penultimate object was especially distinct and brightly lit in its discoidal or spherical configuration.

Altogether, we counted fifteen such craft. The last one sailed directly above the fireworks’ big finale, over the center of the exploding display. Total duration of all Wabasha sightings on the evening of July 4, 2017, coincided with the city’s Independence Day pyrotechnical program from the moment it began until its final shot, as though the disc pilots somehow knew the program in advance, allowing their own, perfect timing. Their behavior made us both feel that they were solely interested in observing the fireworks.

Posted 2017-07-07

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