Published: 3:17 PM 7/2/2013
By Chris Ballinger
A UFO moving at "colossal" speed was spotted near Gatwick Airport, files released by the Ministry of Defence have revealed.
MYSTERY SIGHTING: The witness spotted an "oval" vehicle in the sky near Gatwick Airport.
Among the latest files released was a report from a former Metropolitan Police employee who saw an "oval object ... accelerating at colossal speed near Gatwick."
The unexplained sighting took place at about 11 am on September 1, 2008 when the unnamed witness was driving southbound on the M23 towards Gatwick Airport.
"I saw a flash and bright light in the sky and immediately associated it with a plane or helicopter," the report quotes them as saying.
The witness then adds: "I continued to watch the sky not thinking anything unusual and then this oval shaped object accelerates at a colossal speed, faster than any aircraft I have seen or been aware of accelerating before. This unusual oval shaped aerial vehicle, after accelerating, just vanished out of view."
The individual adds that they believed the extra-terrestrial craft had been in sight for about ten seconds about a mile from where they were.
The Gatwick report also includes computer-drawn side profiles of a commercial jet, helicopter and the UFO to compare their sizes.
While the exact nature of the sighting remains inconclusive, a regular visitor to the airport over the last three decades believes there could be a less dramatic explanation than alien visitors.
Ken Ede, who has been a member of the Gatwick Aviation Society over the last 30 years, said: "I don't believe in them (UFOs) for starters, so we need to look at this with a bit of reality.
"I don't remember ever seeing anything like that myself, but because I am a skeptic such things may not have registered in my mind.
"We have had visitors say they had seen unknown objects in the past but these have always been ruled to be Chinese lanterns, which have seen a rise in popularity for being released during celebrations."
However, this report is not the only UFO sighting in Crawley
Stevie Hobbs contacted the News this week to share her memory of an incident in the 1960s when she lived in Paddockhurst Road, Gossops Green.
Mrs. Hobbs, 83, said: "I will never ever forget the time when we saw a UFO. It seemed to be hovering over the outdoor swimming pool at Gossops Green School, it was absolutely silent and still, but had two very bright lights.
"We watched for some time and suddenly it was seemingly sucked out of the sky."
Mrs. Hobbs, who now lives in Furzefield, West Green, then went to The Windmill pub, in Gossops Green, with her husband where people had come out of the pub to "see this strange thing."
She added: "They were all talking about it and described it as having three very bright lights.
"As they were looking at it from the other side and they could see three when we had only seen two, we assumed it had altogether five or perhaps seven lights since it appeared to be round.
"Nobody was scared. It was a fairly common thing to see UFOs in those days and seldom did you get skeptics explaining it away."
The Ministry of Defence closed its UFO desk in December 2009 because it served "no defence purpose" and was taking staff away from "more valuable defence-related activities" despite a surge in reported sightings.
According to a briefing in the files, during the years 2000 to 2007 the ministry received an average of 150 reports per year.
But by November of 2009, it had already received 520 reports for that year.