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UFOs in the daily Press:

This article was published in the daily newspaper Saint Louis Post-dispatch, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA, on August 5, 2002.

Report says Metro East UFO might be new military aircraft

By Jeremy Kohler
Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis
08/05/2002 08:35 PM

Remember the huge, unidentified flying object that made national news two years ago when four Metro East-area police officers confirmed seeing it fly between Highland and Dupo in the middle of the night?

A private research group that studies UFO sightings issued a study Monday suggesting it may have been a huge blimplike aircraft being tested by the U.S. military, perhaps for transporting enormous payloads or spying at extreme altitudes.

The Pentagon never has acknowledged the existence of such an aircraft.

The Las Vegas-based National Institute for Discovery Science said those witness accounts from Jan. 5, 2000, jibe with more than 150 sightings elsewhere of what some aerospace experts believe to be a huge military aircraft. The reports tended to be along flight paths between Air Force bases, the group said.

The path of the UFO spotted here took it past Scott Air Force Base, said Colm Kelleher, an administrator with the research group.

After the sighting, the air base said the only knowledge it had of the UFO sighting was from news reports. Representatives from the base did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday.

"Our investigator was rebuffed by several people he interviewed at Scott," Kelleher said. "That's not surprising if we're talking about a classified aircraft."

The four police officers, one each from Lebanon, Shiloh, Millstadt and Dupo, got national media attention after confirming they saw a bright object described as a "floating house with bright red and white lights." Their dispatcher had alerted them to look skyward about 4 a.m., based on a call from a businessman in Highland.

Tapes of police radio conversations between the officers reflected their surprise, but no clear photo surfaced after the sighting.

Investigators with the UFO research group flew to the St. Louis area and interviewed witnesses, Kelleher said. He said his group started in 1995 and employs a dozen former law enforcement officers and scientists to investigate sightings.

The group believes the aircraft, which it calls a "big black delta," could be powered by airborne nuclear power units which would allow it to fly at extreme altitudes, high above conventional aircraft and the pulsing of ground-based traffic control radar. Except for slight humming from high-voltage control equipment, it would make no noise, the group said.

Kelleher suggested that such an aircraft might be deflated for transport and stored with little notice.

He said the group tapped experts in the aerospace industry who helped it develop the hypothesis about a military blimp. He declined to identify the experts.

"What we don't have is a smoking gun - that would be someone involved in building one of these," Kelleher said.

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