"Two California Marine reservists died Wednesday," July 21, 2004, "after two F/A-18 jet fighters collided over the Columbia River near Arlington, Oregon during a training exercise."
"The fiery crash scattered debris up to 30 miles (48 kilometers) away. One pilot parachuted to safety, but the other two Marines' bodies were recovered after their bodies fell into the river."
"The explosion at about 2:30 p.m. was visible more than 40 miles (64 kilometers) away. A driver on Interstate (Highway) 84 near Echo saw a bright flash in the sky, followed by a trail of smoke."
"The shock wave from the collision felt like 'a big boom of rolling thunder,' said Don Adams, a fuel island attendant at the Anderson Chevron."
"The explosion shook the gas (petrol in UK--J.T.) station's canopy, and Adams went out and saw one jet, with the rear half engulfed flames falling toward the west of the small community of about 500."
"Inside, cashier James Baker heard the explosion and saw part of the fuselage falling from the sky, as well as what looked like half an aircraft falling to the east."
"The jets were based at Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego," California, "and had flown out of Portland (Oregon) earlier in the day, said Nancy Corey, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesperson."
"The pilots, two of seven visiting from California, were part of an annual two-week training experience with the Portland-based (Oregon) Air National Guard 142nd Fighter Wing, said spokeswoman Capt. Misti Mazzia."
"'We bring units that are different from us and fly and fight against them to keep our skills polished,' she said. Last year (2003), the 142nd Fighter Wing visited Miramar Naval Air Station on a military training exercise, Capt. Mazzia said."
"An Oregon Air National Guard spokesman told the Associated Press that the planes were on a low-altitude training exercise. One of the dead men was a pilot, and the other was either a pilot or a weapons operator, military spokesmen said."
"Marine spokesman Capt. Dan McSweeney in Quantico, Virginia said the incident was being investigated but did not release the names of the dead men because their families had not yet been told of their deaths."
"The survivor, tentatively identified as Major Craig Bardon, was taken to the Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Oregon after he parachuted to land on a hill to the west of Arlington."
"Jack West was setting out his (lawn) sprinklers when he heard the explosion and was one of the first people to reach the survivor at his landing site."
"The survivor did not know exactly what had happened, West said. 'He didn't know if his plane just blew up, or if his wingman hit him,' West said."
"The survivor was released from the Mid-Columbia Medical Center late Wednesday night," July 21, 2004, "nursing staff reported. His condition was not disclosed."
"Jeremy Takala was setting out nets to catch salmon with his uncle, Andrew David, and grandfather, Jim Bronsco Sr., all of Goldendale (Washington state), when he heard a loud explosion. He assumed it came from a nearby landfill" across the river in Washington state.
"After a second explosion, he looked up and saw the fireball above. They dropped everything and headed up the river while debris rained all around them, he said."
"From about half a mile up the river, they could see two figures parachuting down, David said. One landed in the middle of the river, and the three went to help pull him out. By the time their boat reached the man, he had started to sink into the river, Takala said."
"They pulled the man, whose clothes smelled of jet fuel, out by the parachute, but he was already dead, Takala said."
"Gary Bettencourt, Gilliam County undersheriff, said he was surprised that nobody got hit by falling debris."
"Gary Grossmiller, owner of the Happy Canyon Pizza Parlor, went out when he saw people pointing at the sky outside his shop and saw the parachutes. About a half hour after the crash, a foot-long (30-centimeter) piece of what appeared to be carbon fiber, smelling of jet fuel, landed on his back porch steps."
(Editor's Comment: Now, this is weird! Thirty minutes after the reported mid-air collision, this mysterious carbon fiber cylinder falls out of the sky and lands on Mr. Grossmiller's back steps. What is this thing, anyway? An alien photon torpedo depleted of all its on-board energy?)
"Joey Evens, 14, of Arlington, was swimming with three friends at the swimming area at Earl Snell Memorial Park when the crash happened, and the lifeguard ordered them out of the water. While Joey was swimming, he said a piece of metal fell from the sky and landed" in the river "about 15 feet (4.5 meters) in front of him."
"A military investigative team was expected to arrive late Wednesday, and state and local authorities are searching for debris from the crash, said Georges Kleinbaum, (Oregon) Office of Emergency Management state search and rescue coordinator."
The following day, Thursday, July 22, 2004, the National UFO Reporting Center received a report of a UFO in the region. The female eyewitness reported, "Around 11:10 p.m., on July 22, my husband and I were out studying satellites on our front lawn" in Portland, Ore. "As I looked to my right, I exclaimed, 'Oh, look! That is the lowest, biggest and brightest satellite we have seen.' Right at that moment, the object darted off at a right angle and, within eight seconds, dimmed and was gone...disappeared out of sight. The object was round in shape and lit up all around and had spike-type legs (approximately 5 or 6 of them) extending from the center of the object. It was not like any of the other satellites we had seen that evening, and none of them shot off within eight seconds and disappeared."
Commenting on the incident, UFO Roundup editor Joseph Trainor said,
"For years people have heard Air Force latrine rumors about the
On every military air patrol, at least one jet flies fully armed. This jet 'rides shotgun' on the flight and, if the flight encounters a UFO, this particular pilot automatically switches to combat flight rules and attacks the object."
"This may be what happened in Arlington. Look at the evidence that contradicts the 'collision' story. The survivor said he doesn't know what happened. Witnesses on the ground reported two explosions. And that strange carbon-fiber whuttizzit fell out of the sky thirty minutes after people saw the aerial fireball. All in all, this is one very strange airborne 'collision.'" (See the Tri-City Herald for July 22, 2004, "Two killed in fighter jet collision in Gorge." Many thanks to Daniel Wilson for this newspaper article.)
(Editor's Comment: No doubt about it. The Columbia River region has been a real UFO hotspot during the past few weeks. Check out the next news story.)
"Washington state's only commercial nuclear reactor" in Richland, Wash. "remained out of service while technicians tried to determine why an automatic shutdown system failed to work properly yesterday," Friday, July 30, 2004.
"State emergency officials said there was no release of radiation and no danger to the public. It was not immediately known when the Columbia Generating Station reactor would be restarted."
"The failure triggered an alert in which state agencies prepared to respond if needed to help Benton and Franklin counties near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation."
"But Brad Peck, a spokesman for the reactor's operator, Energy Northwest, said the reactor was started and and the alert was cancelled at 11:57 a.m., just two hours after it was declared."
"The reactor, which produces power for the Northwest's electrical grid, will remain out of service until the owners determine what caused the problem, he said."
"Energy Northwest spokeswoman Heather McMurdo said lights on a control panel showed that two of the 185 control rods did not fully insert into the reactor during the shutdown."
"The rods, which control the reactor's operation, were inserted manually at about 10 a.m., she said."
"Backup systems operated correctly, and the alert could have been canceled when the control rods were manually inserted, but plant operators wanted to err on the side of caution, McMurdo said.""'It was conservative for us to have remained in an alert status,' she said."
"Bob Harper, a spokesman of the (Washington) state Emergency Operations Center, said that although there was no threat to the public, the center, at the (Washington) National Guard's Camp Murray, was activated, as called for under the plant's emergency plan."
"The state Department of Health dispatched a field team to take air samples and soil readings as a precaution, he said."
"State authorities originally said that the shutdown occurred during a test, but Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials later said it occurred during normal operations."
"NRC spokesman Ken Clark in Atlanta (Georgia) said the reactor automatically shut down after a light-positive indicator" activated at about 9:25 a.m. "It was then that the equipment indicated that some control rods were not fully extended, he said."
"Columbia Generating Station is a boiling-water reactor that produces up to 1,500 megawatts of elecricity, which is sold to the Bonneville Power Administration. Formerly known as the Washington Public Power Supply System No. 2, it is the only one of five reactors started in the late 1970s to be completed before construction was halted in 1983."
Right after the nuclear plant emergency shutdown, there was a sharp increase in UFO sightings in Trout Lake, Wash. Ranch owner and ufologist James C. Gilliland reported, "We have had almost a week of constant (UFO) activity, with as many as 13 eyewitnesses at a time. Several shapes came in very low and exploded into brilliant light. Some side-skipped back and forth, changing speeds, exhibiting behavior unlike any conventional craft."
"There was a triangle on (Friday) August 6 (2004) around 10:30 p.m., which swooped down, ducked and turned around like a ghost ship. It was a bit longer than my hand. Two out of 12 (guests) saw it. It happened very quickly."
"On (Sunday) August 8 (2004), at 9:50 p.m., a ship came in from
southeast (over the Hanford reservation--J.T.). It burst into a
brilliant golden light, dimming to orange and then white. It continued
northwest and then repeated the signal. Yet this time it was a
brilliant white like a welder's arc. Three witnesses were present."
(See the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for July 31, 2004, "Hanford reactor shut down after alert." Many thanks to Daniel Wilson and James C. Gilliland for this newspaper article.)