A national group that studies unidentified flying objects has issued a report that says Federal Aviation Administration radar appears to confirm the presence of unidentified aircraft over the Stephenville/Dublin area, with at least one apparently headed toward President Bush's Crawford Ranch on the January night when dozens of witnesses reported UFOs.
The Mutual UFO Network report says radar indicates that several aircraft were found Jan. 8 in the same compass direction and time frame as cited by the witnesses, but were not military and did not have transponders, which relay information about the craft to radar operators.
The 77-page report was released on the MUFON Web site (www.mufon.com) late Thursday night.
The organization gathered data for its radar report by filing 10 Freedom of Information requests to the FAA, National Weather Service, all nearby military bases, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Services and the 21st and 30th Air Force Wing Commands.
Never miss a local story.
FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said he was not familiar with the radar data and could not immediately comment on the report.
According to the report, one Crawford-bound craft was tracked by radar for more than an hour. Witnesses said they saw two large glowing amber lights similar in size and color to the lights on the back of a school bus.
The object seemed to be stationary or moving at speeds of less than 60 mph most of the time, but at one point accelerated to 532 miles per hour in 30 seconds, according to the report. But it did not seem to reach the property.
"The object was traveling to the southeast on a direct course towards the Crawford Ranch, also known as President Bush's western White House," the report sates. "The last time the object was seen on radar at 8 p.m., it was continuing on a direct path to Crawford Ranch and was only 10 miles away. During the entire episode of over an hour, there is no indication that any of the military jets reacted to this unknown craft."
Dozens of people around Dublin and Stephenville — about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth — say they saw flying objects on or around Jan. 8 that they could not identify and that did not move like conventional aircraft. Some witnesses said the objects were being accompanied or followed by military aircraft.
Descriptions vary. Some told of objects up to a mile long and hundreds of yards high. Others reported seeing two to eight lights that flew in formation, changed color and shined with intensity greater than a welding flame.
These sightings gained national and international attention because of the number and credibility of witnesses, including a county constable and a pilot. Many of the witnesses are familiar with aircraft because the military has a flight practice zone that ends just south of the sighting area.
The radar report seems to back witnesses stories, including that of Constable Lee Roy Gaitan, who said he saw an unknown object south of his home about four miles southwest of Dublin. He described it as two amber lights that were initially stationary that changed into about 10 white lights that departed at a high speed.
"Radar detects an object at 7:20 p.m. only 2.8 miles south southwest of the constable's home and traveling in a southeastern direction," the report states. "This matches very well with the time and direction of the constable's sighting. At 7:36 p.m. radar shows the object suddenly veering to the north at 1,900 miles per hour and then returning a minute later to continue on its southeastern course."
The authors of the report said they reached conclusions:
■ There was definitely a real and physical object that appeared and was witnessed.
■ The military did not act overtly to the presence of these objects.
■ Military air traffic was unusually heavy and twice veered into civilian airspace.
The Mutual UFO Network is a nationwide organization that studies unidentified flying objects. Its Texas chapter took statements from about 50 witnesses Jan. 19 and interviewed at least 70 more, gathering descriptions, sketches, pictures and videos.
The report is online at www.mufon.com.