"A flaming airliner," "a burning satellite"
"an off-course rocket," "a comet" and "a flying saucer" were
among the many descriptions offered for the gigantic multi-coloured mystery object which
streaked through the Vancouver sky on the night of May 28. Dr. R. M. Petrie, head of the
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, preferred the more conventional
explanation of a meteor.
Frank Hughes, a scientist of North Surrey,
who claimed to have observed 200 meteors declared it was the largest he had ever seen.
This former member of the British Astronomical Association said it was on a 20 degree
angle from the earth, about 10 degrees in width, and traversed about 30 degrees in five
seconds. He continued: "It was glowing with a white brightness like a magnesium
flare. The different portions of it glowed with varying intensity. John Lium, a US customs
official, however, disagreed with the scientist's views: "It was no meteor. It had
all the appearance of being powered. It passed overhead at about 400 feet but didn't make
The sighting was very well witnessed as it
occurred over the heads of players and spectators at an evening baseball game
between the Vancouver Mounties and the Portland Beavers from the USA. The players took to
their heels and the 660 spectators, catching the panic, in the words of the Vancouver Sun
Sports for May 29 "churned towards the exits, half of them stopping only when they
were outside the stadium."
The Vancouver Sun for May 29 carried the
following account: "The fireball lit the Vancouver sky between 10:40 and 10:45 PM. It
was seen in Lewiston, Idaho, for about the same length of time, commencing at 10:50 PM.
Peter Ivans, 24, suffered a sprained ankle as fans headed for the exits. Downtown
traffic slowed to a crawl as motorists craned their necks to see the object. An excited
policeman radioed headquarters that an airliner was burning in the sky. Witnesses said it
was blue, red, gold and all the colors of the rainbow. They jammed switchboards at police
stations, newspaper offices, radio stations and military establishments with excited
Roy B. Lawes said; "It seemed to travel
in spurts as pieces of it broke off." Ralph Crawford remarked that "it flared,
wobbled and burst." Joe Kincaid said he saw the object in the southern sky at 10:50
According to the Vancouver Province, of May
29, the object was also seen near Bowen Island and east of Ladner. Mr. and Mrs. Hy Loomer
stopped their car on Homer Street to watch it through the windscreen. They said it
passed behind a hotel and reappeared. Seconds later it burnt out and disappeared. "It
was traveling at a fast speed," Mr. Loomer said. "It was in two sections. We
watched it disintegrate into four pieces - then it went out. It looked like it was
blocks long." According to the Province the object was seen over a vast area. (Credit
to Miss O. M. Beaton).
From Flying Saucer