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Benowa Waters, January 11 2009, 1.45am

Benowa Waters, January 11 2009, 1.45am

We were visiting a friend in Benowa Waters, all sitting outdoors, when my husband (who is a helicopter engineer for over 30 years now) pointed out what he initially thought was an aircraft with a strange landing light, coming from the vicinity of Coolangatta Airport, which is south of Benowa Waters. The light appeared to be a very bright orange ball, but unlike aircraft landing lights it didn’t radiate a beam of white light, and remained in a ball shape. We couldn’t see any navigational lights and as the light came closer overhead, we all wondered why it made no sound! Looking at it with the naked eye, it appeared to be about the size of an average thumbnail, held at arm’s length.

Our friend brought out her binoculars as the light was heading away in a northerly direction, maintaining a steady speed and altitude. We saw another identical light appear in the south, at apparently the same altitude and on the same flight path as the first light, which by this time (roughly two minutes) seemed to simply switch off.

Through the binoculars, the second light appeared to be a distinct bright orange ball with a light blue-mauve hot air balloon shape above it. But the ball of light was way too big to be a hot air balloon’s flame and as the light moved directly overhead, it was apparent that there was no basket below the flame, nor did the balloon shape above the ball of light seem to be attached to it, but it did appear to be a concave envelope of something directly above the ball of light. The hot air balloon shape did not distort, as we expected it to do, because a hot air balloon travelling at that speed most definitely would have.

All in all, we saw six lights fly by at roughly two minute intervals, all maintained the identical flight path, speed and altitude, and all of them appeared identical in shape and brightness. None of them emitted any noise or vapour trails. The bright orange balls of light did not pulsate, but shone with an intense stable brightness, like the heart of an orange flame. My husband guessed that the wispy clouds could have been anywhere between 30,000 to 40,000 feet altitude and the lights were travelling at an altitude above the clouds, because they dimmed, as the moon would do, when they moved behind the wispy clouds. The full moon was clearly visible to the north-west, which illuminated the clouds, but didn’t affect the brightness of the lights. We didn’t know who to call, thinking air traffic control would probably fob us off with a “weather balloon” or similar explanation. These six lights were definitely not weather balloons, nor any aircraft as we know them. There has been no mention of the lights on any news (radio or TV) channel, so I Googled and found this website. I will add drawings of the lights when I have a few minutes to spare.

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Benowa, Queensland, Australia

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