I-Team: Chasing UFO's on the River - 8 News NOW

Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp and Photojournalist Matt Adams

I-Team: Chasing UFO's on the River

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One year ago, residents in the tri-state area of Nevada, Arizona, and California saw something weird blaze out of the sky and crash on the banks of the Colorado River, south of Needles.

Reports about the needles UFO were sent all over the world and brought a lot of visitors, including men-in-black types to that region. Residents have had a year to think about the object that crashed and to ponder some new, similar sightings from the past few months.

A trio of yapping dogs, excited about something outside their Bullhead City home is what caused Tutu Martin and her husband Paul to awaken just after 3 a.m. on May 14, 2009. "The whole bedroom lit up, like they had lights on it, so I pushed the blinds back and looked," said Tutu.

The glowing object blazed across the sky in a southwest direction and appeared to slow down, then speed up. Minutes later, Martin says, she saw and heard a formation of helicopters as they sped south past the Laughlin skyline. "They were definitely following the river heading south. About another 20 minutes or so, they were coming back," she said.

"It was bright -- bright enough that it illuminated the ground," said former police chief Frank Costigan.

A few miles away, a cantankerous cat caused Frank Costigan to awaken. He also got a good look at the streaking object, saw it slow down, then speed up, then zip below the horizon. "I expected to hear a boom or siren or something," he said.

Down on the Colorado, a fisherman we call Bob on the River had the best view of all. The oblong object with a turquoise hue lit up the water and then smashed into the sandy bank 100 yards away. "It didn't look like a meteor. I've seen meteors before. It looked like a plane crashing," he said.

Within minutes, Bob says, the air was buzzing with helicopters, and then a large sky crane somehow attached the object, picked it up, and carried it away.

In Bullhead City, Brad Allen watched the aerial procession with his son. "I looked thru the binoculars and below one of them was a green object. It was glowing a faint green," he said.

Tutu Martin saw the same procession. An hour or so later, she says the Laughlin Airport, located just below her home, was invaded by several 737's which were identical to the famed Janet planes used to transport workers from Las Vegas to the Area 51 military base. "It was white with a red stripe," she said.

In the days that followed, residents in and around Needles reported encounters with mysterious men-in-black types in odd unmarked vehicles with government plates.

Radio station owner Dave Hayes says the vehicles were similar to, but not exactly like, a government convoy the I-Team ran across. The group the I-Team stumbled upon turned out to be a team from the agency which transports nuclear weapons.

In the year since the needles UFO incident, plenty has happened. Hayes' station, KTOX, which is also where Costigan works, has become an unofficial clearinghouse for UFO reports.

Most are explainable or not believable, he says, but Costigan thinks there's no question the object that crashed near Houseboat Bob was the real deal, though every military unit within 200 miles denies knowing anything about it.

Although the story has raised the public profile of the area and has drawn curious tourists, sort of like Roswell on the River, Costigan says the locals think it's a serious matter, even if it was a military test of some sort, which is the prevailing view.

"I think it was military or the military was tailing it or knew it was coming down. But my gripe, why didn't we get warning we were in danger of something falling out of the sky? We want answers," he said.

Residents of Lake Havasu would also like answers about what's been flying over their heads in recent months. In March and again in April, eyewitnesses saw a large triangle, some say boomerang, cruising over the lake in the wee hours. The craft was flanked or followed by warplanes. The reports are similar to huge triangles seen all over the world in recent years.

A Las Vegas think tank known as NIDS found an apparent correlation between the sightings and military facilities, but the Pentagon denies having anything this big in operation.

Costigan says the Havasu sightings ring true to him. "It was seen up and down the whole West Coast. I've got several descriptions, but always with a military presence," he said.

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