While promoting GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 on BBC, bad ass actor extraordinaire Kurt Russell was read a report about a UFO sighting. The report described an unidentified pilot who was flying over the Phoenix Airport with his son when he saw 6 bright lights coming toward him. The event was unresolved. But, Russell cooly responded saying, “Except the tail number for that plane was Bonanza Two Tango Sierra, and I was the pilot.”
The event became known as the Phoenix Lights, a mass UFO sighting that occurred on March 13, 1997.
Russell explained flying with his son, Oliver, when the two noticed the 6 lights in a V-Shape coming toward them. Russell didn’t know what they were, so he immediately called air traffic control to report them. Air traffic control told Russell there were no other planes nearby, so he declared the lights as unidentified.
After he landed, Russell and his son completely forgot about the event. Then two years later, Russell’s longtime love, Goldie Hawn, was watching a program on UFOs. The program described an incident that occurred in Arizona, and mentioned a civilian pilot who reported it to air traffic control. The event started rushing back to Russell, who realized they were talking about him.
To confirm he was the pilot, the actor checked his log book. The times in his book matched with the time of the reported sighting.
Russell realized he was the civilian pilot to report one of the most highly seen UFOs in history. The thing that bothered him most about the event was that neither he nor his son remembered it until that moment. In various other reports, witnesses explained experiencing some type of short-term amnesia following the event too.
On that night, the bright lights hovered above the Phoenix skyline, as well as in Mexico and Nevada for 106 minutes. The lights appeared in a triangle, and were described appearing as large as a 747 airplane, and the size of a football field.
While most reported the lights made no sound, others explained they heard what sounded like rushing wind. Some witnesses described the lights as a reddish, orange color, except for the tip, which was white. They moved through the sky, and several witnesses exclaimed the lights lit up one-by-one, before disappearing one-by-one.
Many of the witnesses were families or individuals driving along the highway, but the lights were even reported by then-Arizona Governor, John Fife Symington. Years after the event, Symington explained receiving hundreds of calls to his office from concerned, frightened people. To prevent mass hysteria, he held a press conference where an associate dressed as an alien, and he disclaimed the lights were proof of aliens.
He wrote, “I would now like to set the record straight. I never meant to ridicule anyone. My office did make inquiries as to the origin of the craft, but to this day they remain unanswered.”
At the time, the military explained the lights as dropped military flares; however, many witnesses aren’t convinced. Three months after the first incident, more lights were reported in the Arizona sky. So, was this mass UFO sighting evidence of alien life, or were they military flares?
You can hear Russell describe the event in the video below and decide for yourself.
*Header Image: THE THING (1982) Universal Pictures