Eyewitness reports from United Airlines employees and pilots about a gray, metallic, disc-shaped craft hovering over Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport have resulted in widespread news coverage within the mainstream U.S. media and international news outlets.
In a Chicago Tribune column published Jan. 1, Jon Hilkevitch reported on the Nov. 7, 2006, incident.
Hilkevitch wrote that the object was first seen by a United ramp worker at about 4:30 p.m., while directing a United plane at Gate C17. Several other United employees also reportedly witnessed the UFO.
When the Associated Press picked up the story this week, major media outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News and National Public Radio carried reports on the encounter. Even the political Web site TruthDig.com carried a report of the sighting.
The incident has also triggered press reports in Canada, Australia, UK, Germany and elsewhere.
Editor & Publisher, the journal and Web site that covers the press, reported on the news media coverage of the O’Hare incident.
WELL-DEFINED METALLIC DISC
A United mechanic in the cockpit of a Boeing 777 spotted the disc above Gate C17, Hilkevitch reported. Eyewitnesses claimed the metallic-looking disc was “well defined” in the sky.
No lights were reported and the size of the object was estimated to be 6 feet to 24 feet in diameter.
Witnesses stated the object was in a stationary position and was silent, according to Hilkevitch. It hovered just below the cloud deck which was estimated to be 1,900 feet that day.
"… I know that what I saw and what a lot of other people saw stood out very clearly, and it definitely was not an [Earth] aircraft," said a mechanic who witnessed the object.
A United manager reportedly ran outside from his office when he heard about the sighting on an internal airline radio frequency.
The object suddenly shot up, creating an unusual circular hole in the clouds, through which clear sky could be seen by witnesses.
Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center, subsequently received information about the incident, according to published reports.
News accounts have claimed at least six people, and perhaps more, witnessed the object. There has also been speculation that many witnesses have chosen not to come forward.
There are also unconfirmed reports that photos were taken of the object.
Initially, United Airlines and the FAA claimed they had no information on the incident ... until the Tribune filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
Interestingly, United and FAA officials have since reportedly found indications of the eyewitness reports.
"Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon," said FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory.