Bill Etscheid is adamant he has seen UFOs in the night sky.
"I was looking towards Surfers Paradise while having a smoke on my balcony," Mr Etscheid, of Banora Point, said yesterday.
"I noticed three orange lights in a line from the ground to the sky.
"These lights started to change into different sequences, with one light taking off up and towards Surfers, two more came in from the west over the airport.
"They then joined each other playing around, then two took off directly up and disappeared. One light took off over Coolangatta and the last one just faded out.
"The speed of them was impressive, definitely too fast to be a conventional plane."
A truck driver, a father of three, a member of the Volunteer Marine Rescue and a volunteer firefighter, Mr Etscheid, who managed to snap some digital images of the strange lights over Tugun in June last year, is not a lone witness.
"It was the strangest sight," he said. "I told some of my mates and we had a chuckle about it but I still can’t explain what I saw." There have been other alleged mysterious sightings of late which have once again underlined the Tweed region’s reputation as one of Australia’s UFO hotspots. Residents from Tugun to Kingscliff have told the Daily News they have seen unexplained flying objects in the night sky.
Some claim the desalinisation rig anchored off Tugun is proving something of a UFO magnet.
"I always see UFOs hovering over the plant,’’ said one teenage Coolangatta surfer last week. "I saw something just last week. I don’t know what it was.’’
He was backed up by other friends who also claimed regular sightings.
Readers again came forward yesterday following a report about another type of UFO in Tuesday’s paper – an Unidentified Floating Object. The object seemingly was an unusual-looking oil rig but its identity has yet to be confirmed.
The report jogged Mr Etscheid’s memory. Stressing he did not drink alcohol or that what he saw was a plane, Mr Etscheid said he was a UFO sceptic prior to his sighting.
"What I had seen was also witnessed by my wife and my son," Mr Etscheid said.
Since 2000 there have been at least a dozen reported UFO sightings in the region, particularly around Banora Point and Tweed Heads. They have been filed to "ufologists’’ by locals along with accounts from plane and helicopter pilots.
There has also been at least one report of an apparent alien encounter.
Last year Brian Vike, from a UFO research group in Canada, received a report from a Banora Point mother and son who claimed to have suffered strange bodily marks.
"About four weeks ago I noticed a cut on my back and I couldn’t recall how it happened," the son wrote in an email to Mr Vike. "The cut formed into a scar and looked similar to that of a surgery-related operation and I thought nothing of it.
"Then my mother woke me and complained of back pain and asked me to check to see what the problem was.
"I realised that her cut was identical to my cut four weeks earlier."
The man said he suspected he had been contacted by extra- terrestrials (ET).
Mr Vike said he receives a massive number of reports of UFO sightings each year, many from Australia.
"Australia is and has been a very active area for all kinds of unusual sightings," Mr Vike said.
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