Canadian Press, Feb. 12, 2003
WINNIPEG (CP) _ From white cylinders in British Columbia to an object with windows and flashing lights near Inkerman, N.B., last year was a banner one for sightings of unidentified flying objects over Canada.
”In 2002 we had the largest number of separate events for a single year in the history of collecting UFO data for Canada,” Chris Rutkowski of Ufology Research of Manitoba said Wednesday.
”We have some extraordinary cases in Canada last year reported literally from one end of the country to the other.”
Since 1989 his group has been compiling reports from across Canada.
There were 483 UFO sightings reported in 2002 — almost 30 per cent more than in 2001 and a 250 per cent increase since 1998.
That’s a record if 1993 is excluded when one celestial fireball contributed to a high of 489 reports that year, explained Rutkowski, who added that 154 of them were easily explained because of the fireball.
”Overall it’s fascinating to see that the number of cases in Canada rose so dramatically last year,” he said.
There is no easy explanation for the increase, he added.
Rutkowski said one of the strangest unexplained sightings occurred in January 2002 near the tiny community of Inkerman, N.B.
”A large object with flashing lights and brightly lit windows flew slowly and fairly silently over a highway,” he said.
”A couple stopped their car and watched it as it moved down behind some trees.”
It was one of the sightings he looked into personally.
Overall, British Columbia was once again the place to be in 2002 to see a UFO. The province produced 176 sightings, more than Ontario and Quebec combined and up from 123 in 2001.
B.C.’s numbers represent a third of all UFO sightings in Canada. Rutkowski said part of the reason is likely due to two UFO organizations in the province which have done a good job encouraging reports, although he suggested that doesn’t tell the whole story.
”I don’t think that the increase can be ascribed completely to the fact people are looking up a little more or know where to report.”
Many of the reports from British Columbia come from the north of the province, not the densely populated south.
”In the Yukon there (also) still seems to be an extraordinarily high number of cases,” he noted.
The Yukon produced 20 reports last year and has consistently produced about that many or more since 1998.
Ontario produced 128 reports last year, Alberta 51, Manitoba 36, Quebec 34, Nova Scotia 23, Saskatchewan 6, New Brunswick 4, Newfoundland 3 and Nunavut 2. Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories were UFO-free zones in 2002.
In general, more UFOs were reported in late summer than any other time of the year, although February also produced a peak.
About 18 per cent of all UFO reports remained unexplained but only about seven per cent were what researchers consider high-quality cases. Most sightings involved at least two witnesses and lasted approximately 15 minutes.
Rutkowski and the other researchers who helped compile the report don’t draw any conclusions from the sightings and don’t suggest alien spacecraft are visiting planet Earth.
”As with previous studies, the 2002 Canadian UFO survey does not offer any positive proof that UFOs are either alien spacecraft or a specific natural phenomenon,” notes the report.
”However, it does show that some phenomenon, which is often called a UFO, is continually being observed by witnesses.”
Some unidentified flying objects sighted by Canadians in 2002:
Jan. 12, 2002, 9:40 p.m., Inkerman, N.B. — A couple in a car watch a large object with flashing lights and brightly lit windows fly slowly and silently over a highway. Dozens report sightings about the same time.
March 28, 2002, 10:30 p.m., Hamilton, B.C. — A pale-coloured light rises from a mountain, then disappears. It repeats this performance several times.
April 7, 2002, 1:57 a.m., Hudson’s Bay, Nunavut — The aircrew of a cargo plane watch a small light grow in size to become a jagged ball, then fizzle out.
May 7, 2002, 11:23 p.m., Winnipeg — A fuzzy patch of light is seen and photographed near the Big Dipper by an experienced astronomer and physicist. It was not a comet, cloud, or any other known phenomenon.
May 26, 2002, 11:44 p.m., Winnipeg — Three people watch a dark object with three red circles on its underside silently glide across the sky.
July 28, 2002, 10:00 p.m., Smithers, B.C. — A barrel-shaped silver object flies across the sky towards the southwest.
Aug. 13, 2002, 1:00 a.m., Waterville, N.S. –Twelve witnesses watch two luminous silver objects fly silently over an RV park, then one of the objects angles sharply away and is lost to sight.
Aug. 13, 2002, 2:15 a.m., Cow Bay, N.S. — A huge, slow-moving black triangular object appears to block out the sky. Inquiries with radar operators confirm a large unknown object had flown over the area at that time.
Aug. 23, 2002, 7:00 p.m., Houston, B.C. — A shiny white cylindrical object flies overhead and is videotaped.
Sept. 1, 2002, 8:47 p.m., Molega Lake, N.S. — Two witnesses watch an object with rectangular slit-like lights and a large red flashing light fly slowly eastward.
Sept. 22, 2002, 3:13 p.m.,Vancouver — A small orange object moves slowly in the sky, changes direction and shape, and is observed for hours by more than a dozen people.
Oct. 22, 2002, 10:25 p.m., Granisle, B.C. — An orange disc-shaped object hovers over a mine, then slowly rises and flies north until it’s out of sight.