Chinese Lanterns Theory on ‘UFO’ Sightings
Peter Jackson
Aug 4 2008 by Liz Hands, The Journal

REPORTED UFO sightings over Northumberland on Saturday night may have been Chinese lanterns.

Peter Jackson, a 30-year-old gardener who lives near Morpeth, contacted The Journal yesterday after seeing 15 unidentified flying objects while enjoying a barbecue with his family on Saturday night.

He used a digital camera to capture video footage of the white objects, which later became a mix of orange and red, as they flew in formation below cloud level from 10.15pm to 10.30pm.

Mr Jackson watched in astonishment with neighbours and a food delivery man outside his home at Swansfield, Kirkhill, as the ‘UFOs’ headed in the direction of Newbiggin by the Sea, without making a sound, at high speed.

He said: “It was a once in a lifetime chance to catch anything like that. I have certainly seen nothing like it before. Some people were quite shaken up by it.”

Mr Jackson says objects similar to those he saw were reported in Minnesota, America, three months ago.

But last night a spokesman for Newcastle International Airport revealed that air traffic control had been informed in advance that around half a dozen Chinese lanterns were to be released from Tynemouth Priory as part of a celebration at 10.30pm.

The spokeswoman said a wind may have caught the lanterns and blown them over the Morpeth area.

“They look like large balloons with a light inside them. That is what we suspect it was,” she added.

The only sighting on the airport’s radar was a police helicopter.

Mr Jackson said he would have to see what size the lanterns were before accepting the airport’s explanation.

The Ministry of Defence was unable to provide any guidance on what the objects may have been.

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