PHANTOM PLANE CRASHES are a relatively recent phenomenon, but there have been several cases reported. The scenario usually goes something like this: Witnesses see a plane going down, often in flames. They hear the crash and feel the ground shake as the plane impacts. Sometimes smoke and flames are seen, and witnesses can smell spilled fuel. Upon investigation, however, no sign of a crash is evident. Not only is no wreckage ever found, but no record of a missing or delayed flight is cataloged. So what are these people seeing?
Here are several of these mysterious reports from around the country.
PLANE VANISHES NEAR LONG ISLAND
People in Westbrook, Connecticut were amazed Wednesday morning, January 15, 1997 when they heard that a single-engine plane dive toward the waters of Long Island Sound... and then vanish. According to the newspaper The Day, "The Coast Guard, state Department of Environmental Protection, two rescue helicopters, fire departments from Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Madison, and Clinton, and some marine patrols and private boats searched 100 square miles after a man reported he had seen a plane dive into the water.
"Daniel Bowes of Meetinghouse Lane was having a cup of coffee at about 7:30 a.m. at West Beach on Salt Island Road when he saw a plane flying low over the water, according to Ralph Buck, a captain of the Westbrook Fire Department. He told authorities it looked as if the plane took a nose dive, though he didn't see a splash, Buck said. No airport in the area reported any planes missing, according to state police Lt. Cliff M'Sadoques." At 4 p.m., the Coast Guard called off the search. No trace of any aircraft was found. (Source: UFO Roundup, Vol. 2, No 3; January 19, 1997)
Three women in the Ovando, Montana, area, about 50 miles northeast of Missoula, reported seeing an airplane trailing smoke, and falling from it [were] objects looking like parachutes. A ranchwoman told officers she saw a "board-like object" fall from the plane. Sheriff Ed Barrow and a deputy, despite falling temperatures and four feet of snow, made a ground search, joined by a ski-equipped plane which flew over the designated area, but nothing was found.
Two days later, there was a new hope when a boy living near Ovando reported an explosion he had seen on a hillside near his home. He described it as a "big explosion" with red and yellow flames. The time and general location given by the boy agrees with the stories told by the three women, officers said. Malmstrom AFB officials at Great Falls and Civilian and CAA authorities all agreed that no planes, military, commercial, or private were missing. On Feb. 18, Carl Schirmer, coordinator of the Montana search and rescue team announced, "There is nothing warranting any further search. The Sheriff went up where the disturbance was reported to be seen and could not find a thing." (Source: C.R.I.F.O. ORBIT Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 1 - April 6, 1956)
SIGHTING, SCREAMING, BUT NO CRASH
"Butler County, Ohio, deputies discontinued a search yesterday afternoon for a plane, which reportedly had crashed in Reily Township near Imhoff and Indian Creek Roads late Wednesday night," said this newspaper report. "Deputies said an amateur radio operator heard what he thought was a distress call from a plane believed to be flying from Oxford to Cincinnati about 11 p.m.
"About 1:45 a.m. yesterday, George Mosley, 1203 Azel Avenue, Hamilton, his son and two other boys became separated in the same area while coon hunting. During the separation the boys said they saw a white flash in the sky at treetop level, then heard screaming and a crash. Airports in Hamilton and Butler County had no record of any small craft filing a flight plan during those hours. Deputies used a plane and walked the area in search of a downed plane Wednesday night until fog set in on the Reily area. The search was continued yesterday morning and discontinued after nothing was found." (Source: The Cincinnati Post, August 13, 1976)
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