Pilot near Las Vegas Spots 'UFO' Only Visible through Night Vision Goggles
An air ambulance helicopter pilot reportedly witnessed an unidentified flying object while flying over Las Vegas at 9 p.m. on March 17th.
The pilot of Mercy Air 21, an Agusta 119 Koala helicopter, was flying approximately 15 miles west of Las Vegas when he spotted "some sort of object over the Southern Hills area" that was only visible through his night vision goggles.
The story broke on Twitter with a post by aircraft enthusiast Bryan Herbert.
125.9000 -- PIlot reporting a UFO at 7000 feet around the Southern Hills area of Las Vegas— Bryan Herbert (@KE6ZGP) March 17, 2019
According to the audio clip:
Pilot: “Just to advise, it looks like I have some sort of object over the Southern Hills area. Looks to be about 7,000 feet; could be a balloon or something along those lines. It’s unlit, so just advise.”
Air traffic control: “Okay, I’m not seeing anything in that area, but it’s tough to say, like you’re saying there’s something out there.”
Pilot: “Yeah, I can only see it—I’ve got night vision goggles on—I can only see it through the goggles.”
Air traffic control: “Oh, that’s awesome.”
“The Southern Hills” refers the Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center, a hospital in the southwest corner of the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
According to the available positioning data, the helicopter was flying at an altitude of 7,000 feet and was around nine miles away from the hospital; the object was at about eye-level for the pilot, meaning it was at a similar altitude, and hovering over the hospital would place it approximately nine miles from him. The altitude and distance would seem to make a misidentified balloon unlikely, but it’s impossible to say without knowing the object’s size.
Air Methods, the corporation which owns the local Mercy Air operations base out of which the helicopter operates, instructed the base not to provide comment or access to the helicopter pilot who witnessed the event.
On March 20th, Air Methods issued the following statement in response to inquiries regarding the incident:
The pilot believes that the object in question were Mylar balloons.
The actual identity of the flying object remains unexplained.
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