Wed, February 11, 2004
Close encounter on Highway 7
Family of 3 witnesses UFO
By KEVIN ENGSTROM, STAFF REPORTER
John Stewart doesn't believe in aliens but he would like an explanation for the saucer-like
object he saw in the sky last summer. The Stony Mountain resident, along with his wife and
11-year-old son, reported seeing the unidentified flying object on Aug. 23 while driving
"It was the freakiest thing I've ever seen in my life," said Stewart, who works for a
local recording company. "It was absolutely amazing to see and the more I think about
it, the more I wish I could see it again."
Stewart's sighting was one of 25 reported in the province last year, according to the
2003 Canadian UFO Survey. The survey was released yesterday by an independent research
group led by Winnipegger Chris Rutkowski.
Stewart said the saucer caught his eye while driving past a farmer's field on Highway
7 about 6:45 p.m. that day. He initially assumed it was a small airplane or helicopter,
hovering 30 to 40 metres above the ground, but he realized it was much more than that
after the object flew over the highway median and turned sideways as it passed cars
at speeds of up to 140 km/h.
"Me and my wife looked at each other and said 'What the hell is that?' " Stewart recalled
yesterday. "It wasn't aerodynamic at all, so it shouldn't have been able to have been flying,
let alone flying while going that fast."
The object was pewter in colour and had a diameter of about three metres, he said,
with black and symmetrical, ball-like windows along the side. After it flew over
Stewart's truck, the family lost sight of the UFO only 90 seconds after first spotting it.
"I have no idea what it was," he said. "If I believed in aliens I'd have thought it
was a probe of some sort but I don't know about that."
At Rutkowski's urging, all three family members drew a picture of what they saw. All
three drawings were strikingly similar, said Stewart.
He said he wouldn't have come forward if he had spotted the object while alone, saying
there is a stigma attached to people who report such sightings. Even his friends were
skeptical when he told them about it.
"Nobody believed me until my wife said she saw it, too," he said. "So they now believe we saw something."
Stewart's sighting was one of 115 in Canada last year that have no apparent explanation, said Rutkowski.
There were 673 sightings reported across the country last year, an increase of 39% from 2002.
Most UFO sightings can be attributed to natural phenomena or human activity.
SIGHTINGS IN '03
Findings of 2003 Canadian UFO survey:
- Sightings up 39% from 2002 to 673
- There were 25 sightings in Manitoba last year, down from 36 in 2002
- Thirteen of those sightings were in Winnipeg
- About 17% of all sightings were unexplained
- Typical sighting lasted 10 minutes
- Most sightings have two witnesses
-- Ufology Research of Manitoba