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Enigma Issue 11: UFOs over Norfolk

by Andy Rivett-Carnac and Andrew Stronach | 7th Oct 1996

Mysterious bright lights seen in the sky over Norfolk are being investigated by the Ministry of Defence to see if they pose a threat to national security. The MoD said it was taking seriously several sightings of two large unexplained objects hovering in the skies over the Wash.

Mystified personnel at RAF Neatishead, near Wroxham, spent hours tracking the lights of the UFOs, sighted over Boston on Saturday. And coastguards at Great Yarmouth were kept busy coordinating reports from police, shipping, and the RAF.

UFOs over Norfolk?Nigel Sergeant, spokesman for the MoD, said today : "We don't know what they are. We are investigating to see whether they are a threat to our security." Skegness police called the Coastguard at 3.14am on Saturday 5th October after seeing a number of objects flashing in the sky, they later took video footage of the UFOs. Boston police also reported a light in the sky. Flt. Lt. Keith Sweatman of RAF Neatishead said: "The number of independent reports we have had suggest there is something to follow up. We will be investigating the matter thoroughly and we are already collating all the information we have."

Sightings later came from a tanker and a civilian aircraft and two military radar stations verified "strange" traces. The UFOs were described by witnesses as large, a mile up in the sky, and with blue, white, red and green flashing lights . A spokesman for Skegness police said: "We had calls overnight which suggested a large bright object over the coast. In the past, sightings like this have been either a plane or a weather balloon." But Yarmouth Coastguard records show a force four wind was blowing at the time. The objects were monitored in the same position for at least seven hours.

The objects did not carry transponders, the electronic equipment which gives out a signal identifying civil or military aircraft. Witnesses reported no aircraft noises in the area. Military radar reported no aircraft, civil or military, in the area apart from the civilian flight which reported "strange lights".

Military officials said late on Saturday morning that no airforce planes had been scrambled to investigate as the objects were not seen as a threat. But a military jet was seen heading up the Norfolk coast towards the area at 9am on Saturday 5th October.

Nigel Sergeant, MoD spokesman: "We're trying to prove that it does not represent any sort of security threat and that it was not an aggressive intrusion into our airspace."

Transcript of the incident
Coastguards in Great Yarmouth coordinated the whole exercise, spanning Scotland and the east coast of England, to track the unexplained lights. The Evening News has obtained a transcript of a conversation between coastguards, RAF stations in Norfolk, Scotland and London, police and North Sea tanker Conocoast about the unexplained lights . This is the recording taken at Yarmouth Coastguard HQ:

0314 Skegness police: "We can see a strange red and green rotating light in the sky directly south-east from Skegness. It looks strange as it is stationary and there is no aircraft sound in the area."

0326 RAF Kinloss: "Northwood have a radar contact bearing 221 degrees at 16 miles. It looks to be stationary and there is no way of determining its height but it must be quite a size to be visible from Skegness."

0331 Kinloss: "Neatishead now confirms a couple of radar contacts in the area but no height. They seem to be stationary. There are definitely no military aircraft in the area and no notified civil flights should be there."

0346 Conocoast tanker: "We have these lights on visual, now they are flashing red, green and white. Cannot identify it as an aircraft as it looks stationary and it is approximately one mile high." Yarmouth Coastguard: "Did you see from which direction it appeared?" Conocoast: "No, it just appeared and is stationary."

0353 Kinloss: "Neatishead say it could be caused by the weather.
Coastguard: "I don't think so as we have visual contact."
Kinloss: "Well, Neatishead and Northwood report that there is no transponder on this object and therefore no means of interrogation. It is obvious that whatever it is it does not want anyone to know that it is there. Also Neatishead report its position as directly over Boston."

0408 Conocoast: "It is still stationary and flashing red, green, blue and white. It looks very high, north of us, and there is no engine noise."

0417 Coastguard: "Skegness, can you get video footage as the RAF are very interested and may require it later."

0427 Kinloss: "Neatishead are keeping a log of what looks like clutter on the radar."

0445 Yarmouth Coastguard: "Conocoast, can you give us an update?"
Conocoast: "We can see two lights flashing green and red."

0501 Coastguard: "Give us both bearings of the two lights."
Conocoast: "There is one stationary light at 345 degrees true and the other at 160 true. The lights are both visible with the naked eye and both exhibit the same characteristics flashing red, blue, green and white."

0517 Boston police: "We can still see the light . It is towards the south-east and seems about 40-45 degrees up in the sky.It is just a bright light to us."

0521 Kinloss: "Neatishead are running a trace on this and cannot explain it. If they are helicopters they are fast approaching the end of their endurance as it is well over two hours since the first report let alone how long they were up there before they were actually sighted."

0552 Conocoast: "We can still see the lights and they are on their original bearings and flashing the same colours but they seem higher and dimmer"

0708 Flt. Lt. McFarlane, Neatishead: "We had a report from Northwood that a civil flight had also reported strange lights in the area. They fit exactly what was seen from the ground, multi-coloured, flashing, stationary lights."

0731 Flt. Lt. George, Northwood: "This echo is still on our screens and we cannot explain this at all apart from it being a meteorological phenomena but then again we have visual sightings also as well. The civilian flight that reported these lights as a flare was six miles away at the time. All very strange."

1109 Neatishead: "The object still has not moved. London radar and Waddington can also see it."

1920 Anglia radar: "There is nothing there now. We are of the opinion that it was the Boston Stump."

Wind: force 4, Visibility: 20 miles.

A Follow-up:
Excerpt from Eastern Evening News, Friday, October 11 1996

...Norfolk RAF investigators have now found logical explanations - and have ruled out the possibility of little green men peering down on us. (Don't they always - Ed.)

Flight Lt Keith Sweatman, of RAF Neatishead, said: "We now know that the radar trace was Boston Stump - the church tower at Boston. And the weather people said that the coloured lights in the sky coincided with an electrical storm over the Wash. You do get weird experiences with electrical storms, and they can produce lots of different colours."

The 200ft church tower would have been ruled out if it had been picked up by a more advanced RAF radar, which can computer enhance images.

But the air traffic control radar did not have similar facilities, and operators jumped to the conclusion that it must have been linked with the flashing red, blue, green and white lights, seen by the tanker Conocoast...

...The mystery is expected to be cleared up once and for all in the next couple of days when experts at RAF Neatishead view video footage of the lights. They are waiting for the video to arrive after being sent from Boston police. Flight Lt Sweatman stressed they would be keeping an open mind.

It's interesting to note that 'officials' always seem to retract comments and explain away strange phenomena. After Roswell, they suddenly changed their minds and claimed it was merely a weather balloon.

How many qualified radar operators would mistake a church tower for a moving UFO on a radar screen. Apart from the fact the church tower has no doubt been there a number of years and would already be known to radar operators.

Enigma readers can be sure of keeping up to date on future developments on this and other UFO sightings around the country.

If you have had any sightings yourself, please report them to me at the editorial address, as I am trying to build up a comprehensive database of UFO sightings with an aim to trying to correlate times and places on the computer.

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