UFOs fly over the city?

March 9, 2003, Burnaby NOW

by John Knox
Burnaby NOW reporter

Is there something strange happening in the skies above Burnaby?

This week the NOW has received two reports of a strange, cylinder-shaped object seen flying in the vicinity of the Lougheed SkyTrain station on the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 27.

Whether or not little green men are responsible for the surprise daylight visitation is unclear, but witness Gary Watson swears the alleged craft was "absolutely beautiful to look at."

"I was stunned when I saw it, but it was gorgeous. Just absolutely amazing," said Watson, 64, as he recalled watching the massive silver vessel pass his position on Salish Court.

Watson said two other witnesses - a young man and a woman - were the first to notice the strange ship.

"The girl just looked up suddenly for no reason, and when I saw the look on her face I knew something was going on," Watson said.

"There's been no sound, no noise, no reason to do that - real strange. So I looked up and there it was."

What he claims to have seen was a 1,000-foot-long cylinder with rounded points at each end.

There were no lights, wings or other visible markings on the object, Watson said, although portions of the unidentified craft's sides seemed to have a slightly different metallic hue from the rest.

"I was just standing there and, sure enough, this giant ship comes flying right overhead from east to west over the mall and disappeared over behind some buildings," he said. "No noise, no sound, no engines... I swear this was not a plane of any kind."

Watson, who is retired after years of service with the air force and the naval reserves, estimates that the ship was cruising at approximately 500 miles per hour (834 km/h) at an altitude of 20,000 feet.

"I was in the military and I've been trained to know how to estimate these sorts of things," Watson said. "As strange as it is, I'm telling you this was the real thing. Definitely not an airplane."

But the Burnaby senior is not the only one to report the strange object.

The NOW was also contacted by Richmond resident Sean Li, 22, who was filling up at a gas station at Lougheed Highway and North Road when he caught a glimpse of something similar to what Watson has described.

As with Watson's account, it was around 5 p.m. on Feb. 27 when when Li and two friends stopped for gas and spotted something they never thought possible.

"We'd been at a restaurant having a good time and this totally changed our day," Li said.

"I was pumping the gas, and my friends got out to stretch their legs. Then all three of us kind of looked up at the same time and there was this huge thing that just floated right across North Road and flew over the Burnaby side."

Exactly why all three of them looked to the sky at that particular moment is a bit of a mystery to Li, as neither of his friends claim to have heard anything.

"It was like animal instinct, you know? Your head just says 'do it' and you do it," he said.

Li described the object as "a giant silver bullet that was a lot fatter than an airplane."

Like Watson, Li said the ship moved from east to west before disappearing from sight.

He estimates the ship was in full view for about 15 seconds.

"My one friend is a pretty harsh skeptic, but after that she doesn't know what to think," Li said. "It freaked us right out."

Burnaby RCMP Const. Phil Reid said police weren't made aware of the incident, and Watson said his calls to the airport and Transport Canada have proved fruitless.

"It doesn't look like they picked up anything strange on radar at all," he said.

This marks the latest in a long string of unusual sightings in Burnaby, many of which have been documented by UFO B.C., a Vancouver-based group that has been maintaining a database of alleged encounters with aliens and spacecraft since 1995.

To date, 58 separate incidents have been documented by the group in Burnaby since 1995, with a good portion of them coming from the Lougheed and Capitol Hill regions.

Strangely enough, a handful of them describe objects similar to what Watson and Li claim to have seen.

Several other Burnaby cases include descriptions of "locomotive"-like noises accompanying the appearance and disapperance of strange objects above the skyline.

But the most recent account prior to last week's sighting took place on Jan. 18 around 9:30 p.m.

In that case, three family members were out for a walk on Pauls Crescent in the Montecito neighbourhood when a bright green "comet-like object" flashed across the southeastern sky with a red tail trailing behind it.

The object is said to have travelled over Cariboo Hill towards Edmonds before disappearing from sight without a sound.

As for Watson, he says he's hoping for an opportunity to run into the supposed space travellers again in the near future.

"I think it's fascinating," he said. "I would have run up there, knocked on the door and said 'Let me in' if I could. It's not something I'd be scared of."

For more information, visit www.ufobc.ca