Beachwalkers out to watch the first sunrise of 2020 were left bewildered by the sudden appearance of a mysterious flying object in the sky above Florida’s east coast on New Year’s Day.
Several early risers walking on beaches in the city of Fort Pierce were stunned to see an unexplained object streak across the sky in the moments before sunrise on Wednesday.
As well as a fiery trail the peculiar object also left a raft of questions in its wake as eyewitnesses struggled to comprehend what they had seen.
“I knew what I was looking at was either a missile or a rocket,” witness John Simard told local news outlet WPTV. “What I couldn’t understand was why was I seeing it in that area because there’s no launchpads out in the ocean.”
Simard, who was at the beach to photograph the first sunrise of the new year, shared footage of the strange occurrence on Facebook, asking his followers if they had ever seen a rocket that wasn’t moving?
“If that’s a rocket it’s the world’s slowest moving rocket. It’s a dang UFO is what it is,” he said.
However, Sanford Manley, a former historian with the US Strategic Air Command, poured cold water on Simard’s theory, claiming that what people actually saw was the contrail of a plane being illuminated by the rising sun.
“The plane is very high catching the sunlight before the sun has come up, therefore it’s glowing red,” Manley said. He explained that the phenomenon typically occurs more often during sunsets than sunrises.
After Simard appeared on local news stations his daughter Melissa Krystal Simard said that Facebook is “fact checking” his photos.
“We think the government is on to him,” she joked. “Shit is crazy! Wtf did my dad witness!?”
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