Summary: "It was unbelievable." The words belonged to Kenju Terauchi, a Japan Air Lines pilot who was trying to describe an inflight incident that thus far has defied explanation. The veteran pilot says theree unidentified flying objects - two small ones and one twice the size of an aircraft carrier - trailed his JAL cargo jet for 400 miles across the Arctic skies.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - "It was unbelievable." The words belonged to Kenju Terauchi, a Japan Air Lines pilot who was trying to describe an inflight incident that thus far has defied explanation.
The veteran pilot says theree unidentified flying objects - two small ones and one twice the size of an aircraft carrier - trailed his JAL cargo jet for 400 miles across the Arctic skies.
Terauchi yesterday acknowledged that some of his colleagues have doubts about what he, his co-pilot and flight engineer saw Nov. 17 as they flew from Iceland to Anchorage.
The crewmen of JAL Flight 1628 reported seeing flashing lights trailing their jet that clear night to the Federal Aviation Administration, which interviewed the three in Anchorage. The plane later went on to Tokyo.
FAA officials Monday confirmed the controller who handled Flight 1628 saw a mysterious object trail the jet on his radar, and Air Force officials at the Alaska Air Command said their radar picked up something near the JAL plane.
In yesterday's interview, Terauchi, 47, a pilot with 29 years of experience, said he saw three UFOs and that at one point lights from the two smaller ones appeared directly in front of the Boeing 747 cockpit at close range.
Terauchi referred to the objects as "the two small ships and the mothership," and expressed amazement that they disappeared and reappeared and moved quickly and stopped suddenly. He said he could not explain the events, except to speculate that he saw something of extraterrestrial origin.
Speaking in English with occasional help from a translator, Terauchi drew maps, pictures and supplied technical annotation to describe the incident.
Terauchi repeatedly said the object that appeared on FAA and Air Force radar was "a very big one - two times bigger than an aircraft carrier."
The smaller UFOs did not appear on his radar, he said. Nor were additional objects picked up on FAA or Air Force radar.
Terauchi said the three crewmen saw lights from the two small objects. He drew a picture for the FAA showing lights on a formation, each object having what appeared to be two panels of lights.
The captain said he saw lights on the larger object and once, near Fairbanks, saw it in faint silhouette eight miles away. He drew a picture of what he saw - something resembling a large shelled walnut.
The crew was not frightened, Terauchi said. Their feeling was, he said, "We want to escape from this." And so - with FAA permission and direction - the crew dropped in altitude and made numerous turns, but the objects remained.
"They were still following us," Terauchi said, and FAA radar confirmed that at least one object remained despite the maneuvers.
Asked if he was nervous, Terauchi replied, "No, I am the captain. I cannot be nervous."
Asked why he thought the UFOs would tail his plane, Terauchi laughed and replied, "We were carrying Beaujolais, a very famous wine made in France. Maybe they want to drink it."
FAA security manager Jim Derry, who interviewed the crewmen, said they were "normal, professional, rational, (and had) no drug or alcohol involvement."
FAA flight control reports indicate the mysterious object stayed with Flight 1628 for at least 32 minutes. Terauchi said he thought it was longer.
The flight controller directing the JAL plane reported the object on his radar as close as five miles to the jet.