22 April 2008
UPDATE: Man claims responsibility for Phoenix mystery lights
April 23rd, 2008 @ 10:04am
by Hanna Scott/KTAR and KTAR Newsroom
A Phoenix man says he caused the red light display that mystified thousands of people as it floated across the north Phoenix sky Monday night.
The man, who did not want to be identified, said he used fishing line to attach road flares to helium-filled balloons, then lit the flares and launched them a minute apart from his back yard. He said he believed turbulence created by a passing jet caused the balloons to move around.
Lino Mailo said he saw his next-door neighbor launch the balloons.
``I saw the guy releasing the balloons with the flares on them," Mailo said. ``There is no doubt that they came from here."
He added, ``I don't think it's a cool prank because it can panic people."
Phoenix Police helicopter pilot Bruce Bates, who saw the lights, said the balloons explanation makes sense.
``People say they saw different shapes -- a square, a diamond, an arrow, all these different shapes. Well, that's just the balloons moving around in the wind currents," he said.
Some people will always think the lights were UFOs, Bates said.
``I think people want to believe what they want to believe."
A sky lantern company's web site said skylanterns can last for up to 20 minutes, rise about a mile high and can travel for miles.
Posted by wst... at 10:21