NPR Interview with Chicago Tribune report Jon Hilkevich on the O'Hare UFO sighting:
Audio file for the NPR interview is at:
Transcribed interview (credit: Tracy Key):
Melissa Block: In the Chicago Tribune today, this tantalizing
headline "A Bird, A Plane, a UFO?", the report describes a number
of workers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport who all say
they saw more or less the same unexplainable thing on November
7th. A large disc shaped object hovering in the sky over an
airport gate then shooting off into the clouds. Jon Hilkevtich
wrote this story; he covers transportation for the tribune and
joins us now. Thanks for being with us.
Jon Hilkevich: You're welcome
MB: Uh huh. And then they describe it very suddenly taking off?
JH: That's one of the weird parts too. Uh, a very thick cloud
layer that this craft was hovering below it, but then when it
streaked away, it burst through the clouds, and unlike an
airplane or a helicopter that would just slice through the
clouds, this thing created this big donut hole, uh, vacuum,
indicating tremendous energy force as it burst through the
clouds and leaving this hole of clear sky that was there for
several minutes till the drifting winds pushed the clouds back
MB: Now when you were talking to these workers at O'Hare, were
they saying, ya know, your going to think I'm crazy but this is
what I saw?
JH: Yeah, one of them, in fact, when he went to his manager in
an email, the manager sent him an email back and said, hey looks
like somebody got a hold of your email account and is pulling a
hoax. Um, but, this is anything but. That's what impressed me
about this. All aviation professional's, very credible sources
and they are very serious. They are not saying what they saw was
a, you know, a spaceship from another planet, but it was
unidentified, it was in restricted airspace, and they were
concerned from a safety standpoint. That if this was something
man-made, they needed to get it out of there because they were
having busy flight operations in the early evening hours.
MB: You know, in the course of doing your reporting on this
story, you were working along with, in some ways, the UFO
Reporting Center. Did that strike you as odd in some way?
JH: Yeah, I mean, they kept wanting me to say this was a visit
from some other world and further proof that, uh, we, on this
planet are visited regularly by other beings and, uh, you know,
to me, I am not qualified, I wasn't a witness. What was
interesting to me was that United Airlines, after receiving
numerous reports, including from high-level management
officials, decided to deny that they got any such reports! I
don't know if they were, felt, embarrassment, or maybe people
would think United Airline employees are kooks or something by
reporting this. But it's very odd. The FAA, at first too, said
they didn't know what I was talking about when I went to them,
they had no reports of this. It wasn't until I put a Freedom of
Information Request in and they got back to me saying well, were
going through the communication tapes from O'Hare tower and by
golly, there is a lot of chatter here about this UFO. So I am
waiting for the full communication tapes on the FOIA requests,
as well as radar data and we'll see if there is some follow up.
MB: Okay. We'll wait to see what happens. Jon Hilkevich. Thank
you very much.
JH: You're welcome.