California Sightings

(Was Deputy Travis working the helicopter?)

Dated March 23, 1977

LA Times


A pair of unexplained lights reportedly maneuvering in tandem in the sky were reported early Tuesday by military personnel and police officers as well as civilian observers in the Los Angeles area. Seven March Air Force Base airmen, five Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and two California Highway Patrol officers were among those witnessing the early morning flight. There was no immediate explanation for the sightings, though one scientist suggested it could have been a rare double meteor. But some witnesses disagreed. "I've seen meteors before and this didn't even resemble a meteorite," said Mark Hogan, a 26-year-old cargo handler at Los Angeles International Airport. Hogan and a pilot friend said they saw the "teardrop" or "tin-can-shaped" lights sweep in at a high rate of speed from the direction of Santa Catalina Island about 3:30 am and then fly in formation over the airport runway. The unobstructed sighting lasted 10 to 15 seconds, Hogan said. "In my opinion, they (the lights) weren't natural. They were some sort of controlled vehicles" because the lights remained at fixed interval, he said. Earlier, two helicopter-borne sheriff's deputies saw a very bright light with an orange tint passing one-quarter to one-half mile in front of them while they were over La Mirada at an altitude of about 600 feet. About 3:30 am veteran sheriff's deputies in Firestone and in Long Beach also said they observed two bright lights following each other across the sky. A Firestone resident claimed the objects bathed his home in a flood of blue light. A Huntington Beach police helicopter crew reported a sighting about the same time. Sheriff's Sgt. Vincent Rupp, monitoring Civil Defense radio call sat the sheriff's radio room in East Los Angeles, said he heard UFO sightings reported from Sacramento, Salinas, Los Angeles, Orange County and March Air Force Base between 3:45 and 4 am. A March Air Force Base spokesman, while confirming the sightings had been made from the base, said there had been no rocket or missile testing which could have accounted for the lights. The objects did not show up on any radar readings, he said. Dr. Edwin Krupp, a scientist at Griffith Park Observatory, said that what witnesses saw might have been a rare astronomical phenomenon such as a double meteor. But Krupp said he "didn't want to insist" that his explanation was correct because neither he nor anyone at the observatory saw the lights.