Mystery Explosion Seen But Not Found

January 20, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

Jean W. Pat is convinced she saw what looked like an airplane explode Thursday night over a field in Riva near Governor Bridge Road.

But an extensive search through the morning hours Friday by police andfire officials turned up nothing.

"We looked throughout the night with State Police helicopters," said Lt. Gary Sheckells, the county fire department spokesman. "We were still looking Friday to make certain that an aircraft did not go down, but (we have) determined there was no airplane crash."

Sheckells said the only explanation officials have is that Pat saw wires arcing, or throwing off sparks. "We're just guessing here because we don't know exactly what she saw," he said. "But there are high-tension power lines in the area. Arcing is the best we can come up with."

Pat said Friday, "I can't imagine what it was. I have no explantion for it at all. I know what I saw and I reported it to police. I thoughtthat by now they would have found some evidence."

Twenty-four firefighters and numerous police officers scoured fields around the intersection of Governor Bridge Road and Strawberry Run. "I saw somethinghover for a short period and then it burst into a fireball and pieces of debris fell to the ground," Pat told police.

Police said no other reports of a fire or explosion were received around 11:30 p.m. Thursday when Pat said she saw the plane. Local and national airportsfrom Baltimore to Washington said no planes disappeared from radar screens.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington said he knew of no reports of lost planes or plane crashes.

Pat, a registered nurse moving from Florida to Maryland, said she was on her way to her daughter's house in Riva, near Annapolis, when she saw the explosion.

"I saw lights that looked like cabin lights on a plane," she said. "It didn't look in the darkness to be as big as a commercial plane. It all happened rather quickly.

"It didn't seem to be moving. The next thing, it was just a red ball of flames. It exploded in air. It looked like mountains of smoke were surroundingit. Then it totally disintegrated. What I saw falling was fragments.It seemed there was just no plane left."

Pat said she drove to her daughter's home, which was a few minutes away, and called police. She said she drove to the scene with police, but couldn't find anything.

Just the same, Pat said what she saw couldn't have been arcing wires. "Somewhere, sometime this will be resolved," she said. "They will find pieces of something in a field. It did not look like electrical wires."

But so far, police say they have not found a single piece of evidence to support what Pat said she saw. A police report released Friday morning said the the investigation was closed.

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