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Durangoan reports he saw UFO
Post by Noah on Oct 25th, 2003, 6:27pm

Tim Butler doesn't believe in flying saucers. His perception is more sophisticated. It was a flying boomerang that caught his attention.


Durangoan Tim Butler sketched this drawing of an unidentified aircraft he claims he saw flying above Durango on Sept. 28.

From his perch on Smelter Mountain about 6 p.m. Sept. 28, Butler, a Durango sound engineer, saw a silent, silver boomerang - 40 to 60 feet long - sweep over Fort Lewis College, around Smelter Mountain, and across the Animas River toward the airport, he said. The object was flying at a little higher than 1,000 feet. "It was flying so low I think it was illegal."

Then, as Butler fumbled unsuccessfully with his binoculars, he watched the object bank west behind Paradise Ridge and disappear, two or three minutes
from the time he'd first seen it. Butler was with a friend who saw the craft, too. But he said his friend declined to be interviewed, citing fears that he may "end up on some future 'Men in Black' list."

Official observers seemed to have missed the flight.

The Durango-La Plata County Airport reported no unusual activity on that date. Financial Director Don Brockus said an American West Express plane
departed about that time. If it had gone north, it might have flown along the path that Butler described.

"Doesn't sound like anything we have coming and going. But anything other than airliners doesn't have to check in with us. UFOs never let us know," Brockus said.

The National Weather Service at Grand Junction said: "There isn't any annotation about anybody seeing anything in the sky. And one of the guys working that shift has his own telescope and he would have noticed."

The Department of Defense's Strategic Command in Nebraska would only be concerned with the sighting if it had been space debris. "Strategic Command did not track any object predicted for entry at that time and location," a spokesman said.

Butler believes that what he saw was no airplane. His theory: unknown technology, possibly from the military, possibly not.

"I'm a scientist at heart so I'm a pretty skeptical person," he said. "I've been going to air shows in Oshkosh since I was a kid. It wasn't like any military technology I've seen."

Butler said the public only knows years after the fact what technology the military has. "There's about a 20-year time span between reported objects and the time we find out about them," he said.

As an example, Butler claimed that airships were seen all over rural America during the 1890s. In one incident, Butler read that people saw a cow dragged into an airship by a tractor beam. The United States didn't commission its first military lighter-than-air ship until 1922.

'It didn't make a sound'

The boomerang, Butler said, was notable for what it didn't have: It lacked markings, a thingypit, portholes, a tail and dorsal fins, stabilizing equipment, propellers, engines, and rivets.

"It wasn't thermalling and didn't make a sound," he said. "There was no heat distortion behind the end. I thought it had to be a military drone at one point but there was no contrail, no propulsion."

Butler recalled that the sun hadn't set and he was looking across at Fort Lewis.

Re: Durangoan reports he saw UFO
Post by Noah on Oct 25th, 2003, 6:28pm

(cont. from above article)

"It was a clear, beautiful afternoon. My friend thought he saw a bird. It looked to me like a little glider from the Animas Valley. I have friends who launch gliders from there.

"Then I started seeing reflections from it. The reflections made it look really white, like a long tube of quicksilver. But when it turned, it looked like a cylinder with wings swept back into a delta."

Others sightings reported

So intrigued was Butler with his sighting that he began doing research. He returned to Smelter Mountain to draw a map of where the craft flew. Then he heard about a report in The Silverton Standard about a recent sighting; he drove to Silverton to get a copy.

The Standard reported on Sept. 19 that three residents on two separate occasions reported seeing a boomerang-shaped object over Silverton: Anita
Steck and Tammy Rhoades saw the boomerang around 7 p.m. Sept. 15. At first it wasn't moving, then it turned and flew away fast, leaving a trail of smoke." Steck said she saw the same object again around 11 p.m. the same night.

Chris Tousimis saw a bright object over Sultan Mountain late that night or early the next morning, the Standard wrote. He described it as emanating two rays of light downward, giving it a boomerang-like appearance.

The National UFO Reporting Center's Web site reported 408 sightings in September. There were 19 sightings on Sept. 28, the night Butler saw the Durango boomerang.

The nearest sighting reported by the center that day was in Santa Fe, at 6 p.m., almost exactly the time Butler had his sighting. The Santa Fe phenomenon was described as "a large, bright, egg-shaped object that moved slightly." The sighting lasted an hour.

The Web site contains hundreds of reports of triangular UFOs but they are typically described as having lights, unlike the one Butler saw.

The Web site also reported that on Aug. 4 a group of four people saw "three lights moving in perfect triangle formation across the sky in Ouray County."

Durango's most well-known "UFOlogist," Dr. Roy Craig, was the major field investigator for the Condon Project, an Air Force-financed, scientific study of the subject. Craig's account of the project, UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence, was published by the University of North Texas Press in 1995.

"If it (the boomerang) was where you said it was, there should have been a lot of people who saw it," Craig said by phone from his home in Ignacio. "That they didn't indicates that it's a private thing."

But at least one person has taken notice of Butler's report.

Donna Chadwick, who gathers reports of sightings for the Aztec UFO Information Center and Gift Shop said, "This is one of the most particular descriptions I've heard. We haven't heard anything about objects of this
shape, but we have lots of small, silver basketball stories. This is the kind of thing we're interested in."