Location of Sighting: Irish Sea
Date of Sighting: 17 November 1967
Witness Name: Ian McGrath
Witness Statement: On 16th/17th November 1967, I was the copilot of a British European Airways Vanguard aircraft flying from London Heathrow to Belfast?s Aldergrove airport. It was a clear night and we made our descent through a starlit sky. At about 00.45 just after we had descended into some light stratiform cloud, Air Traffic Control (ATC) asked if we could see a bright light on our right hand side. We eased the aircraft up out of the cloud and, amongst the mass of stars, noticed a particularly bright one apparently slightly above our altitude. After several seconds we (three pilots) realised that this ?star? was in fact moving quite rapidly across the right side windscreen (whereas of course the stars were stationary in the windscreen); in other words we were moving past it, meaning that it must have been only a matter of a few miles from us. During this time, the aircraft was on a constant heading. As we were nearing Belfast, we had to resume our descent so went back into cloud. Either later during the descent, or after landing, ATC informed us that a nearby military height-finder radar had located a radar return from the area of this bright light at an exact altitude that I recall as 9500 feet.
The next day?s newspaper reported that a large crowd, including the police, had gathered beneath the bright light and had watched it for several hours, before it suddenly sped away.
I subsequently read that two aircraft departing Belfast airport had reported magnetic compass problems around the same time.
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