1/19/05-East Texas
Mysterious Object Seen Over East Texas


This weekend, we got calls into the newsroom from viewers saying they saw something that looked like a comet shooting though the sky. It turns out they weren't just seeing things. We were able to catch it on video.

Just after 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening, KLTV 7 photographer Jason Hewes captured a comet-like object that appeared for a few seconds, then just went away. We took the video to Tyler Aviation Training, where it attracted a crowd.

Mario McGee owns the school and spent 23 years in the Air Force.

"It could be several things," he said. "I've seen rockets making these kinds of maneuvers, but if it's just something up there burning up in space, than that could be it. Otherwise, I have no idea."

He said the speed of the object leads him to believe it's not an aircraft. After seeing the video, retired Air Force pilot Bill Halbert, has a different thought.

"My first impression is that that would be a contrail," Halbert said. "As it goes by us, then it gets out of the range of the sun reflecting back to us and it's reflecting back to the left, I believe that's what that is."

A contrail or a stream of condensation left by jet air crafts is typical at certain altitudes. Randy Ball has been flying commercial airplanes for the last 15 years, he also flys jets in air shows. He likes the contrail theory, but just isn't sure.

"It could be a cold spot in the air.  You've had some pretty dramatic drops in temperature over the last few days. I've also seen some space debris come through like that," he said. "Very interesting video, interesting video."

For a final word, we showed the video to Chuck Schrecongost. He's the tower manager at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport.

"That's nothing like a jet liner would do with the contrails and so forth, with the light reflecting off of it," he said. Chuck said it's not a meteor either.

"It's my 45th year of air traffic control, 'Have you ever seen anything like that?,' No."

There were no military planes scheduled to fly over East Texas on Sunday. We also checked with groups that keep up with meteorites and space debris.  They weren't aware of any of those either.

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