Published April 23, 2008
PHOENIX – A north Phoenix man has claimed responsibility for the red colored lights that formed a square, and then a triangle, that were seen floating over Phoenix late Monday, a sight reminiscent of an unexplained 1997 sighting that has become part of the area's lore.
The man, who did not want to be identified, told 3TV he attached lit flares to helium balloons with fishing line, and launched them a minute apart from each other from his back yard.
A Phoenix Police Department helicopter pilot who witnessed the lights told 3TV they did appear to be flares hanging from balloons.
The Air Force said the lights weren't from any of their flight operations and officials at Deer Valley airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport could not explain it.
The lights were visible for about 13 minutes around 8 p.m. Monday.
A Luke Air Force Base official said the base wasn't flying any aircraft in the sky Monday night and that the lights are not part of any Air Force activities.
KSAZ-TV, a local Fox affiliate in Phoenix, reported that officials from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport saw the lights approximately 4 miles south of the airport and that the lights were rising as they watched.
Airport officials said the lights were not from any aircraft at that airport.
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that air traffic controllers at Sky Harbor also witnessed the lights, but do not know the cause.
On March 13, 1997, thousands of residents reported seeing a mile-wide, v-shaped formation of lights over the Phoenix area. In that case, the lights appeared about 7:30 p.m. and lasted until 10:30 p.m.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.