N.L. residents want answers over alleged missiles
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, January 28, 2010 8:24PM EST
No one seems to know what two neighbors saw off the coast of Newfoundland earlier this week, but the two are convinced three large bullet-like objects were missiles. And they have photos they say prove it.
It all began around 5 p.m. Monday when Darlene Stewart of Harbour Mille, N.L., was outside snapping photos of a sunset, when she saw a long, thin glimmering object in the sky that appeared as if it came out of water.
The photos she took show a thin object shooting into the air, with a tail of fire and smoke.
She called her neighbour Emmy Pardy, who went to get binoculars for a closer look.
“I went out on the patio and I zoomed in and I saw a humungous bullet, silver-grey in colour and it had flames coming out of the bottom and a trail of smoke,” Pardy told CTV.ca.
“I said to Darlene my God, this looks like it’s a missile or something.”
Stewart and Pardy said the objects were visible in the sky for about 15 minutes.
The women say they watched in fear and thought that a missile could be heading their way.
“I was sick to my stomach,” Stewart said. “If it was a missile, what goes up does come down, but where is it going to land?”
“If I hadn’t taken the pictures, they’d figure it was just another UFO sighting.”
Liberal Sen. George Baker said that the direction of the objects suggests a launch from nearby St-Pierre-Miquelon, which is French territory.
If true, Baker said such a launch could contravene international sovereignty rules. He added that Ottawa should be treating the situation seriously.
“Knowing that France has territory within our 200 mile (320 kilometre) zone in Canada, they should at least ask the French, ‘Look, are you launching these missiles?’ Because if they are, (and) everybody is denying knowledge of it, then the laws have been broken.”
Agence France Presse reported that France fired a missile on Wednesday – not Monday – and it was launched from Bay of Audierne in Northwestern France.
In a statement, the French Defence Ministry said the missile was fired from the submarine “Le Terrible.”
Neither government officials, nor the RCMP are providing answers as to what the objects could be.
Stewart says RCMP told her it was a missile, but RCMP would not confirm details with CTV News, Thursday.
Newfoundland RCMP spokesperson Helen Cleary-Escott said no debris has been found.
“The RCMP has concluded it’s an unexplained sighting. It’s our final conclusion,” she said.
“If there’s any new stuff that comes in, we’ll follow up on it.”
She referred all calls to Public Safety Canada, which did not immediately respond to CTV’s calls Thursday.
A spokesman for the Canadian Forces said they there have been no planned missile exercises off the seaboard.
"There's no threat to the security of Canada," Maj. Jason Proulx said from Ottawa.
Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said in an email that "there is no indication that there was ever a rocket launch."
Gerry Byrne, the MP for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, is demanding to know if the objects were, in fact, missiles.
He wants to know whether the government knew about it and failed to inform residents, or was simply not told.
“The RCMP provided an initial report that it was some sort of rocketry that initiated from France,” he said.
“They subsequently retracted that story.”
Byrne told CTV News Channel that he wants to know whether radar picked up the objects, and whether civil aviation authorities were informed.
“This is a major flyway for transatlantic aircraft,” he said. Thousands of flights pass over the area each day.
“If (a missile) had failed and the rocket descended to earth, were reasonable steps taken to protect life and property?”
If the objects were in fact, missiles, Stewart and Pardy also want to know whether the military was informed that they were going to be launched.
The photos created a media firestorm in Newfoundland, and Stewart said her phone is ringing off the hook.