Source: Press Telegram
By Kristopher Hanson
For nearly 60 years, rumors have circulated of strange flying objects emerging from the ocean off our coast and disappearing in a fantastic flash of speed and light.
Sailors, fishermen, dockworkers, police officers, coastal residents and others have reported eerie otherworldly ships emerging from and submerging into local waters.
UFOs, it seems, have established an underwater base somewhere in the deep, dark recesses between the Channel Islands and the coastline between Long Beach and Santa Barbara.
Despite a tendency to scoff at such conspiracies, I decided to do a little investigating. You know, just to be sure.
To learn more, I contacted UFO researcher Preston Bennett of Los Angeles, who appeared on the recent History Channel special "Deep Sea UFOs."
Bennett reports more than 40 documented sightings off SoCal's coast since 1947, including several in and around Long Beach-San Pedro.
"In these types of cases, UFOs are seen moving into and out of the water, floating on the surface and also traveling beneath the surface," Bennett said via e-mail. "Many of these cases are well-verified, with witnesses including police officers, lifeguards, military personnel and other professionals."
Intrigued, I contacted Lt. Chuck Engbring of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Engbring wasn't familiar with any recent UFO sightings at his agency, but recalled an incident not long ago where passengers on a commercial flight departing LAX reported seeing an unfamiliar object ascend from the sea to the sky off Point Vicente in Rancho Palos Verdes.
That incident sounded strangely similar to a sighting in early November at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. I called LAX.
Although no one could recall the Pointe Vicente incident, I was referred to a July 22, 2002, sighting of a flying triangle off the coast.
My next inquiry was to the LBPD.
They had nothing recent to report, but there's always the famous images captured by LBPD helicopter pilots on Dec. 25, 2004.
At around 11:30 p.m. that night, the chopper's videocamera recorded a strange glowing object floating through the Long Beach sky. They forwarded the tape to local military officials, who couldn't - or wouldn't - identify it.
A copy of the tape was even given to KABC and broadcast around the world, but nobody could figure out what it was.
Maybe there was something to this UFO stuff after all?
My next inquiry was at Long Beach Airport.
Airport Spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson said that in December, a resident reported seeing unusual lights moving erratically across the night sky.
Airport officials couldn't explain it.
As I learned during my research, such sightings date back to World War II, when reports of UFOs and USOs (unidentified submarine objects) began surfacing around the area.
The mother of all sightings probably occurred on the night of Feb. 24-25, 1942, in what became known as the "Battle of Los Angeles."
Jittery from the recent attack on Pearl Harbor, military personnel manning anti-aircraft weapons along the coast were ready for action when reports spread of "unidentified aircraft" approaching from sea.
When a bright object was spotted above Santa Monica Bay, shooting began, and "the air over Los Angeles erupted like a volcano," according to press reports at the time.
No enemy plane was ever found.
Many more incidents followed in the succeeding decades, though thankfully none involved heavy weapons.
On Aug. 8, 1954, a Japanese steam ship, Aliki, was floating off the coast of Long Beach when several crew members observed an underwater UFO, Bennett reported in a February 2006 article titled "Is There an Underwater UFO Base Off the Southern California Coast?"
As the intercepted radio message from the ship reads, "Saw fireball move in and out of sea without being doused. Left wake of white smoke; course erratic; vanished from sight."
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Thursday, January 18, 2007
Source: Press Telegram
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