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Night lights: Kasilof resident sees unexplained show

Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kasilof has no shortage of unusual characters and strange happenings, but earlier this month some odd lights in the night sky were not just reported, but also photographed by a local woman.

Photo Courtesy Of Kristy Leslie
Photo Courtesy Of Kristy Leslie
An unusual pattern of lights, believed to be from a helicopter, as photographed by Kristy Leslie from her home in Kasilof on March 16.

"It was on (March 14) when I first witnessed them," said Kristy Leslie, who lives in the Irish Hills subdivision of Kasilof.

The lights she saw were not on an extraterrestrial craft, rather they were on helicopters, but ones unusually adorned with illumination.

"On the first night there were three helicopters with lights like Christmas trees," Leslie said. "They were just hovering. They were red, green, blue, orange, yellow and bright white."

This would be an unusual amount of lights from the typical position lights required by civil authorities, which are a red light on the left, a green on the right and white on the tail. Some aircrafts also may have a white strobe to aid in collision avoidance.

The helicopters were also flying in an unusual pattern, according to Leslie.

"I watched them and two were just hovering, and one was flying low. Then all the lights would go out and it would just drop, landing and taking off again, while the others just kept hovering," she said.

Leslie said this went on from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., or possibly longer, but that was how long she noticed them.

The following evening the helicopters were back, but this time there was even more of them, and they stayed even longer.

"The second night there were five of them. They stayed from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.," she said.

This incident is not isolated to Kasilof. Mitch Michaud, of Ridgeway, also reported seeing some unusual helicopter activity a week before Leslie, but he only saw one aircraft and it was not so uniquely illuminated.

"I only saw one, on (March 8)," he said. At about 6 p.m. is when I first noticed it, but it kept going back and forth over where the Kenai River would be."

The aircraft kept flying this pattern for a few hours then slightly changed its flight path, according to Michaud.

"Around 9 p.m. it started going back and forth where the Sterling Highway would be. It seemed like they were searching for something, but there was no spotlight which was interesting, and if it was a practicing maneuver or something, 10 at night seemed like an odd time to be doing it," he said.

Inquiries made to several agencies and aviation services did not reveal the source of these helicopters. The Alaska State Troopers were not involved in any operations involving helicopters on these evenings, nor were Era Helicopters, Maritime Helicopters out of Homer, Evergreen helicopters out of Anchorage or LifeMed helicopters which are utilized by Central Peninsula Hospital and a few other medical centers. Elmendorf Air Force base in Anchorage had no maneuvers or training operations in the local area on these days.

"I just want to know what they are, and what's going on," Leslie said.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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