Lights in the sky: Howick residents baffled by ‘strange, smallish aircraft’

2012-12-08 00:00

MYSTERY surrounds a succession of “strange” lights that were seen over Pietermaritzburg on Monday evening.

Kathy Simpson, of Howick, said she was with a friend, Jan von Ziegenweidt, at Currys Post when they saw the lights.

She said they looked like a “smallish aircraft” with orange lights, which rose from the direction of Pietermaritzburg Airport.

“The first one proceeded towards Howick in a northerly direction until it reached a good height and disappeared into the dark cloud, where we could no longer see it,” she said.

They saw another “aircraft” coming from the same direction a few minutes later.

It gained a bit of height before it seemed to “stop and quite quickly head straight to the ground”.

“This then got our full attention, and we waited expectantly for a bright light or a crash, but nothing happened …

“Within five minutes, another craft appeared from the original area, and proceeded to gain height, and again come towards Howick and go on north, with the lights on,” she said.

“At this point we were most concerned, as I had never noticed planes in quick succession taking off at night.”

She said the lights appeared for about 20 minutes from 6.45 pm, rising within about five minutes of each other.

Simpson said she saw eight “aircraft” rise into the sky in that period.

“They were definitely not fireworks,” she said.

Von Ziegenweidt said the incident seemed odd.

“I don’t want to suggest they were UFOs, but it was unusual.”

Simpson was eager to find out if anyone else had noticed them.

Later in the week, Monica Skinner of Howick told her she too had seen the odd lights.

“I saw two of them in a south- easterly direction towards Hilton, just hanging in the sky and moving slowly at times,” said Skinner when she called Weekend Witness yesterday.

She said they were too bright to have been fireworks, and were definitely not a bright planet, and were too big to have been a satellite.

“They looked like huge Chinese lanterns, but could not have been because they were too high.”

If any reader can corroborate the reports or shed light on what the odd lights were, e-mail

Pietermaritzburg Airport’s Winston Fynn told Weekend Witness he did not have any information about the lights.

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