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National UFO Reporting Center Sighting Report
Occurred : 5/15/1989 22:00 (Entered as : 05/15/89 2200)
Reported: 8/5/2002 10:41:02 AM 10:41
Posted: 8/16/2002
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Shape: Fireball
Duration: 10 seconds
Fireball object SouthWest of Ridgecrest, CA, drops below hills and disappears.

This happened approximately 10 years ago, so my details on the exact time and date are a bit sketchy. It was sometime around 10 pm in the spring/summer time.

A friend and I were driving west on Downs Blvd (he was driving, I was in passenger seat), moving into the Ridgecrest Heights area (which is very dark at night at this time). Sky was cloudy and had been sprinkling earlier, clouds approximately 3000 to 4000 feet. There were no aircraft that were discernable in the sky below the clouds.

At the same time, we both suddenly noticed a bright, fireball-like object that appeared to come down from the cloud level and drop below the level of the hills to the SouthWest of town. It's color was a deep reddish-orange. It seemed to drop much slower than an object on fire would fall. The object lit up the clouds and hills below it as it dropped, and once below the hills disappeared. Due to the distance (approximately 5 miles from where we were driving) I was not completely certain, but it appeared to NOT be trailing smoke at all.

My friend turned to me and asked "Did you see that?" I confirmed that I had. We both discussed it for a few more minutes, initially thinking perhaps it was an aircraft from nearby China Lake Naval Weapons Center that had gone down... but rejected this thought later as there was no flash or explosion or otherwise once the object fell below the hills, nor was there any sound of explosion at all (we would have heard it from the distance we were at I am certain). The color of the object also bothered me, as the fire on most burning aircraft is much lighter... yellowish orange. As I worked on the China Lake site for a Government contractor at the time, I assumed that it would be common knowledge of a plane went down from either China Lake or Edwards Air Force Base... however, no one I talked to had heard of the incident, and no aircraft was reported to have gone down at that time. Not sure what the object was... and had forgotten about it until I found this site. Initially I dismissed it as some strange anomaly, but after reading more and more of the sightings posted here, I have become fairly convinced that my friend and I witnessed some sort of craft that night.

A quick note on the hills in question - These hills are largely rolling hills West of town and have little real height. Ridgecrest sits in the bottom of the China Lake valley, so seeing beyond the hills is impossible when in the town itself. However, due to their small height, any large explosion or other like flash would easily be seen above / behind these hills.

Background info - I am currently a 33 year old male who grew up in Ridgecrest (living now in WA State). I am a Computer / Network Systems Analyst. I grew up in Ridgecrest, and was always fascinated by aircraft. As a result of living near China Lake and Edwards AFB, I was able to determine the silhouete of just about any US aircraft at close and distant ranges. Working on site at China Lake I also was privy to viewing testing of missiles, bombs, and other such weapons, which accustomed me to seeing burning aircraft in flight and falling debris from such tests.

((NUFORC Note: Date is approximate. PD))