UFO Sighting In Laguna Niguel Part 2: Bogus?

Laguna Niguel Patch/March 7, 2012

By Debbie L. Sklar

Patch reported that a UFO was spotted hovering over the city on March 3, according to We decided to further our investigation to see if this is a common occurrence since there was such interest.

On March 3 around 7 p.m., a resident reportedly spotted seeing some "form of UFO flying overhead" near Golden Lantern in Marina Hills. Apparently, this was the ninth such sighting in just a few years, according to

Patch decided to further investigate by calling area agencies , as well as interview those who might be able to shed some light on the event. We wanted to see if there were any more reports about the incident or frankly, if this was a bogus sighting. You decide.

FAA Local

"All I can tell you is FAA air traffic controllers have not observed any unusual activity on their radarscopes," said Ian Gregor, spokesperson for the FAA Pacific Division. "We track aircraft using radar and have seen no unusual activity on radarscopes. People report all sorts of phenomena to the FAA."

He added in the fall of 2010, he received a flurry of calls from news media who had been contacted by people claiming they saw aircraft explode over the Pacific ocean. "Naturally, no aircraft had exploded over the Pacific. All I can figure is there were meteorological conditions that resulted in people seeing flashes of light."

What The Sheriff's Dept Says

According to Lt. Roland Chicone of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, "we have no record of any calls about anyone reporting anything seen in the sky at that time."

An officer for 26 years, he said he has personally, "never received a call from anyone reporting seeing an UFO, but that's not to say anybody else on the force hasn't."

John Wayne Airport

Jenny Wedge, a spokeperson for John Wayne Airport said, she checked with the airport's noise office and "they haven't gotten any comments or inquires about UFOs ... these calls more often go to the FAA."

She added the noise monitoring stations transmit noise events instantaneously to the 'Access and Noise Office,' enabling the staff to have up-to-the-second data on aircraft operations. "Noise and Access staff responds to approximately 2,500 calls per year and have received no calls about UFOs."

The airport has an Airport Monitor link where you can key in any address and check for airplanes or objects in the area at any given time. A check of the area on March 3 in Laguna Niguel of the most recent sighting, came up empty.

Aerospace Viewpoint

Resident Richard Bent, who said he was in the aerospace industry where he worked with satellites and rockets for more than 20 years, "My take on most of these is that they are helicopters. On clear nights when the object in question is heading toward you, it appears to be sitting still. I think most of these are military helicopters out over the ocean at high altitudes. The white light means they are heading toward you, red lights mean it's traveling to the left, and green mean it's traveling to the right of your position. A green/red combination means it is turning.

"When the object turns, the bright white light will appear to quickly go out. Looking closely at one of these, you will usually be able to see a tell-tale faint red or green light that indicates an earth-made vehicle. I have seen a few of these recently in our skies. Haven't seen anything yet that I can't explain," he said.

He added that he is a "believe it when I see it type of person."

"I am open-minded about it. I don't disbelieve but I can't say I believe. I am a sky watcher and very amateur astronomer, as well as a pilot. Aircraft have different types of lighting depending on their circumstances. Around Laguna Niguel, we have transiting helicopters from Camp Pendleton. We are under an eastbound airway for commercial aircraft that have departed LAX, we are under an approach path for Long Beach airport, we view aircraft going from points north to San Diego, and of course, we have a smattering of private aircraft all over the place. Clear nights that we had last week, make lights more visible from long distances."

He said that people might be over excited when they see things in the sky for a few reasons.

"Lately, we have been able to watch Jupiter and Venus in our western sky right after sunset so that may get some people excited. I haven't seen any good video or photos of any of these sightings and until I do, the jury is still out."

Camp Pendleton

According to Public Affairs Chief Luis Agostini for the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, this was the first inquiry that he had ever received about any sightings.

"We have an air station located aboard the base, and helicopters regularly conduct training missions in the area, so it could have been a helicopter, but I cannot confirm that's what was reported in the sightings," he said. About this column: Off the Beaten Path is the occasional column that helps you to a break from every day life.

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