Prosecutor investigates red lights, citing possible danger to aircraft
The Morris County Prosecutor?s Office is investigating the red lights that have been spotted flying over Morris County on several occasions during the past month, most recently on Tuesday night, with officials saying they may present a hazard to airplanes.
Capt. Jeff Paul, a spokesman for Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, said on Wednesday that federal authorities have expressed concern that the objects ? which could be flares attached to balloons ? might be a threat to flights on their final approach to Newark Liberty International Airport.
?The Federal Aviation Administration advised us that they would issue an advisory to aircraft in the area,? Paul said in a prepared statement.
FAA spokesman Jim Peters said a manager at a regional radar facility had expressed concerns to the prosecutor's office.
There had been widespread reports of the lights on Jan. 7 and Jan. 30, along with a smattering of reports to police and to the Daily Record on at least two other occasions before Tuesday night?s sightings.
Morristown Police previously said the lights appeared to be a hoax, road flares attached to helium balloons. The lights were swaying, police said, and observers at Morristown Airport saw what appeared to be balloons.
Paul said ?numerous? 911 calls were received on Tuesday night in Morris Plains, Morristown, Morris Township, Hanover, Denville, Parsippany, Montville and the Morris County Communications Dispatch center.
The lights appeared to be traveling north with the wind, he said, and air traffic controllers at Morristown Airport reported that they appeared to be at an altitude of about 2,500 feet.
Peter Davenport, who runs a Web site called the National UFO Reporting Center in Washington state, said he received about a half dozen reports from the Morris County area on Tuesday night, with one person telling him that drivers pulled to the side of a highway to watch the lights.
Dorian Vicente, 46, of Parsippany, said the lights caused traffic to slow on Route 80 East in Denville at 8:40 p.m. Tuesday as people watched them floating overhead. There were nine lights, she said, and they were scattered at first. Then she said they aligned in a straight line. That?s when she and several other cars pulled to the side of the highway to try and capture the lights on video.
?It was the weirdest thing,? she said.
She said the lights then flickered out one by one.
Officials with the Morris County prosecutor?s office called the military and determined that no military flights were in the area, Paul said. The prosecutor?s office also contacted the FAA, the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center.
?The investigation into this incident will continue,? Paul said.