[meteorite-list] CNN Transcript / Fireball
From: MacovichCo_at_aol.com <MacovichCo_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:43:34 2004
Hope everyone is well. Sorry that I haven't been in touch. I thought you might be interested to see a transcript of the filed reports of CNN correspondents who had witnessed yesterday's fireball...
..but this breaking story from Virginia to New England this afternoon, a lot of
people were saying, "Look, up in the sky." It wasn't a bird or a plane. So
let's find out what it was.
CNN military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre is on the phone with the
latest guess on what those flashing lights were.
Jamie, tell us first of all, what did you see?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, here's the bulletin. I can't
tell you what it was, but I can tell you what I saw. I was sitting in my
Pentagon office around 6 o'clock this evening, talking to a Navy officer. And I
saw out my window what looked like a meteorite on a downward trajectory, heading
toward the Earth. It was a bright orange trace in sky that got brighter and
brighter as it seemed to get closer to the ground. And then, about halfway up in
the sky, it just sort of evaporated into a bright flash.
So we checked with the U.S. Space Command out at Peterson Air Force Base in
Colorado -- that's where they track all of the man-made objects in space -- to
see if any piece of space junk or something had reentered the earths's
atmosphere. And according to the spokesperson out there, they checked with the
command center, they had no record of anything reentering the atmosphere.
However, they did make the point that they only track man-made objects. It's
absolutely possible this could have be a meteorite or some other natural object
from space. But again, lots of people reported seeing it up and down the East
Coast. Normally, when I hear these kinds of reports, I'm a little skeptical,
but I saw it myself, so I can tell you it happened.
BLITZER: All right, Jamie, stand by. I want to bring in our Washington
bureau chief, Frank Sesno. He's in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Frank, tell us what you saw.
FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I didn't see anything, Wolf. But I was
driving through, and we heard a tremendous -- what sounded like a sonic boom and
rolled down the window because I anticipated hearing sirens or something to that
effect, if it were explosion or something that were causing a local sensation.
And there was nothing. However, shortly after that, when I arrived -- we
arrived at a local hotel here, it was the talk of the town. It swept through
the restaurant where we were eating. People were talking about having seen a --
a "ball of flame" was how one person described it.
So I called the state police here. I also called local police. And they
reported the same thing, that their phone banks had lit up, both the 911
emergency numbers and the non-emergency numbers, receiving a ton of phone calls.
And they claim that they were getting calls and hearing from northern Maryland
and New Jersey, all the way to upstate New York, reports from people, who had
heard the sonic boom and seen something very much like Jamie described in the
No reports -- no reports, the police tell me, of any sighted landings, though
there's a lot of local scuttlebutt that it was anywhere from the next county
north of here all the way to Muncie, Pennsylvania. But again, no confirmation
that it actually landed. That's just what everybody's talking about. It is
literally talk of the town.
BLITZER: Well, let me bring Jamie McIntyre back in. Jamie is northern
Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.
First of all, Jamie, you -- you are an eyewitness to something that you saw.
Had you ever seen anything remotely like this before?
MCINTYRE: No. And -- absolutely not. And absolutely not in the daytime,
either. What was one of the remarkable things about this was this was the
bright -- it was a bright, sunny day in Washington. And I was looking out my
Pentagon window, which looks to the west. I can see clearly in the distance the
National Cathedral and the planes coming in on the flight path to National
And this downward arc of this flaming object was very bright against the
bright blue sky. And then, as I said, it got brighter as it was coming down,
and then it appeared to sort of evaporate in a -- just a burst of -- of flame.
Now, there was a plane coming in, landing at National Airport, at Reagan
National Airport, at this time. I'm sure the pilot would have seen it. And
there might have been a little bit of an optical illusion involved, in that it
looked like it was very close. It looked like if I would have told you it was
over Washington or over the Potomac. But clearly, that was the impression that
people had who saw it up and down the East Coast, that it was very close to
them. And that might indicate that it was really pretty high up in the upper
atmosphere, and just appeared to be close if you were looking off in distance.
BLITZER: And Frank, you say didn't you see anything, but you heard a loud
sound. Give us the sense of how loud that sound actually was.
SESNO: It was very loud. It came right through the car windows. The
air-conditioner was on. It over -- you know, it went right over all of that.
And it sounded like a -- it sounded like a sonic boom. If you've heard a sonic
boom, it -- that's exactly what it sounded like, or a thud. Now, I didn't feel
anything. And nobody I talked to felt anything. But many people describe very,
very much what Jamie has described, and that sense, literally, Wolf, that it
landed just next door.
There were -- I was walking around, talking to people here, who were
suggesting that it was one county north of where I am, or two counties north.
And then, as I say, I spoke to the police and they're talking about other
reports that it had landed in upper New York state.
And again, to be really clear, because we don't want an Orson Welles moment
here, there are no reports that anything landed anywhere that we've heard.
Local news here, Wolf, was talking with their meteorologist, who talked to
astronomers, who said if it was a meteor shower or something like that, this
thing probably burned up in the atmosphere, went over horizon and didn't land
MCINTYRE: And Wolf, I should just point out that this whole thing took place
in just a very short time. The part that I saw, and I was only looking out a
window, so I might not have seen whole thing, only lasted perhaps a second or
second and half. Now, some of the reports that came in to the U.S. Space
Command at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado said that they -- some people
saw this for what they thought was 4 to 5 seconds. So they might have seen it
earlier in the trajectory.
And this is the kind of thing you just had to happen to be looking in that
part of the sky to see it because there was somebody in my office, and I said,
"Wow! Look at that! What's that?" And by the time he turned around, it was
BLITZER: All right, Jamie McIntyre in northern Virginia, Frank Sesno in
Pennsylvania, thanks for joining us.
Just to recap, a flash was seen up and down the Eastern seaboard late this
afternoon at some point. We're trying to find out precisely what it was. CNN,
of course, will continue to monitor this story, and we'll have the latest as
soon as we -- it becomes available.
Meanwhile, we're following another developing story tonight near Los Angeles.
Firefighters are battling blaze at the University of California at Irvine.
Received on Tue 24 Jul 2001 10:09:12 AM PDT