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Tapping UFO Flap to Bait the Hook, Ariz. Governor Reels in Reporters

June 20, 1997|From Associated Press

PHOENIX — An investigation into a UFO sighting over Phoenix? Surely Gov. Fife Symington couldn't be serious.

An aide said yes, the governor, a "Star Trek" buff, was sincere when he ordered a state investigation Thursday into a strange, boomerang-shaped light formation reported over Phoenix on March 13.

But several hours later, Symington said it was all a joke.

"This just goes to show you guys are entirely too serious," Symington said while his aides laughed heartily.

The governor called reporters to his office for a second news conference to announce "important leads" in the case.

With Department of Public Safety officers beside him, Symington said there had been a break in the case and that the source of the lights had been found. Then Jay Heiler, Symington's chief of staff, entered the room in a glittery, pink-and-silver space alien costume.

Symington, a Republican, had announced the probe during a break in his fraud trial. His announcement followed reports in the national media over the past few days that included footage of the lights.

"Obviously, it wasn't an America West airliner or something like that," Symington said at the earlier news conference. "The video that I saw a quick glimpse of was intriguing, so I'm going to order a full, you know, investigation."

On March 13, residents of the Phoenix area deluged police, the governor's office and other authorities with calls about the bright lights. The Federal Aviation Administration reported nothing unusual that night.

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