Sidmouth meteor mystery drama
PUBLISHED: 13:19 16 August 2010
FEARS of plane crash after mystery object thundered from the sky
FEARS a plane had crashed near Sidmouth sparked a meteor mystery after claims a flaming phenomenon thundered from the sky into the sea.
A trio of friends described the moment a noisy unknown entity rocketed over their house as ‘like something out of a film.’
Ben Morgan, Jo Knight and James Perry raced to the seafront to discover flickering objects floating on the horizon last Monday night. Astronomy boffins have been left puzzled by the incident after police and coastguard linked it to a series of meteor showers.
Salcombe Hill Road resident Ben, 25, was celebrating his recent engagement at home with pals when the drama unfolded.
“I’ve never heard anything like that before,” he told the Herald, “There was this really loud noise - I can only liken to when a plane crashes in the movies. It sounded like it was going to crash into the house.
“Then there was silence and five seconds later we heard a rumble in the distance.
“We drove to the sea front and looking towards Exmouth there were four flickering objects- I thought it was something on fire.
“They were glowing and one seemed to flicker out in the water. I would have thought they were quite large, but they were in the distance. I’d say it was six or seven miles away.”
Concerned a plane could have crashed the friends called the police at around 10pm.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that before,” said Ben, “my girlfriend lives in Ottery and heard something… It was a near miss.”
The astronomical anomaly could have been caused by a meteor shower linked to a trail of dust left by a comet that orbits the sun every 130 years.
The Norman Lockyer Observatory held a special Perseid Meteor watch on Thursday night.
Chairman David Strange, who provided our picture of a Persied Meteor from last year, isn’t convinced what the group saw was the phenomenon.
“We’re looking for grains of sand here and not huge objects crashing from the sky,” he said.
“It would be extremely unusual. I think it’s more likely to be debris from a satellite.”
Weather experts say meteor shower activity peaks around August 12.
Meteors are bright but tiny objects, usually no more than a grain of sand in size.
Travelling at speeds of up to 71 kilometres per second gives the particles their appearance.
A police spokesperson confirmed officers received a report that a plane could have come down out at sea following noise and subsequent lights or flames seen after. She added it was believed a meteorite shower had taken place.
A Portland Coastguard spokesperson said crews decided not to act over the calls after speaking to air traffic control.