Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Strange craft over Horry County, South Carolina, were part of military exercise, Federal Aviation Administration says

It wasn't swamp gas trapped in a thermal pocket that refracted the light from Venus, nor were they mere weather balloons.

But the origin of three strange, apparently triangular-shaped aircraft several witnesses and this newspaper spotted flying over Horry County on Tuesday remains a mystery.

A spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the craft were part of a military exercise, but couldn't identify the aircraft or their place of origin.

“We don’t ever get into that,” said FAA spokesman Jim Peters. “We don’t speak for the military. The only thing that I can tell you was that our air traffic control was working with the aircraft. It was military aircraft that was doing some training.”

From a vantage point off McCormick Road in Forestbrook, the Carolina Forest Chronicle observed three craft flying in formation from south to north.

There was no sound as the diamond-shaped objects drifted slowly across the night sky at about 7 p.m. Navigation lights scintillated from their hulls like exploding firecrackers.

Staff Sgt. William O’Brien, spokesman for Charleston Air Force Base, said the craft didn’t come from there. He said the base doesn’t perform military exercises in or around Horry County.

“We do not fly aircraft in your area, so it couldn’t have been one of ours,” O’Brien said. “It would not be anything that we fly because that’s not where we fly.”

Robert Sexton, a spokesman with Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, said he had no information about any military craft flying over Horry County.

Sexton said, however, that Apache helicopters do exhibit behavior similar to the craft spotted Tuesday, such as rapidly flashing navigation lights and stealthy sound.

“Army Apache helicopters make very little noise,” Sexton said. “That’s one of the stealthy features they have. Their rotors are extremely quiet.”

A spokesman for Fort Jackson in Columbia couldn’t be reached as of this posting.

Read more about this story in the Nov. 14 edition of the Carolina Forest Chronicle.

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