2006 Chicago O’Hare International Airport UFO Sighting
In the late afternoon/early evening hours of November 7, 2006, it was not a low-hanging cloud that delayed or obstruct lights at Chicago O’Hare airport, but rather a UFO! All flights left on schedule to and from Chicago between noon and 4 o’clock that afternoon. Everything was going normally until about 4:30 P.M., when twelve employees reported the sighting of an UFO elliptical object that hovered at low altitude above gate C-17, and after approximately 45 seconds flew off into the sky in dramatic fashion, creating a “donut hole” in its wake as it sped off through the cloud cover.
The witnesses to this event ranged from jet-engine mechanics to pilots, to a supervisor who stated, “I stood outside in the gate area not knowing what to think, just trying to figure out what it was.” A mechanic was quoted as well, saying “I tend to be scientific by nature, and I don’t understand why aliens would hover over a busy airport, but I know that what I saw and what a lot of other people saw stood out very clearly, and it definitely was not an [Earth] aircraft.”
The official stance taken by the FAA is that a “weather phenomenon” was at fault for the alleged sightings. According to an FAA spokesperson, Elizabeth Cory, “Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon… when the lights shine up into the clouds, sometimes you can see funny things. That’s our take on it.” They maintain this position despite the years of experience in varying weather conditions by the career-oriented employees that witnessed and reported their accounts. (Although United Airlines spokesperson, Megan McCarthy denies any reports, tersely stating, “There’s nothing…I checked around. There’s no record of anything.”)
This information was made public on January 1, 2007 by Chicago Tribune journalist, Jon Hilkevitch who, being the transportation journalist for the previous ten years, had developed many contacts at O’Hare. His article, In the Sky! A bird? A Plane? A… UFO?, made the unprecedented claim of reporting seriously on the sighting of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon by a reputable news publication.
After speaking with several United Airlines employees that witnessed this event, Hilkevitch contacted United Airlines and the FAA for an official response to a general inquiry and was met with a brick walled response of absolute denial of any such event occurring, though since the filing of a Freedom of Information Act request by the Tribune, the FAA has now disclosed the discovery of “chatter” about this UFO between a United supervisor and a manager in the control tower. This fact is almost as notable as the sighting itself. Why would United Airlines and the FAA lie? What could they stand to gain? Jon Hilkevitch surmises that it was simply to protect themselves from the embarrassment of the public admission of the existence of a “UFO”. Though, truthfully, -and Hilkevitch makes this point several times in interviews- the existence of an unidentified object in the sky does not necessarily denote an otherworldly origin.
Some skeptics argue that the story’s popularity somehow arouses suspicion about the reporter’s motives in breaking this story, that he was simply garnering attention to himself to increase his notoriety as a daring reporter, but the fact stands that even given the initial national recognition of his story, it fell back into the realm of obscurity until self-proclaimed UFO expert, Leslie Kean, appeared on the Colbert Report on August 23, 2010, and mentioned the incident. Colbert scoffed, claiming to have not heard of it and asked, “So if I go on the web, what should I put in the old Googles?” The resultant “Colbert bump” (as well as the credibility of the witnesses and the validity of the story) has sustained public interest in this particular incident since then.
In his article and on the Glenn Beck Show just two days after his story was published, as well as many other interviews with more reputable news agencies, including NPR, Mr. Hilkevitch appears neither skeptical nor promotional regarding the possibility of this being extraterrestrial in nature. His objectivity in reporting on this event is commendable in its own right, as are the United Airlines employees that came forward with their revealing statements. As is often the case in UFO sightings, one individual must spearhead the public acknowledgement and address of such cases, and Jon Hilkevitch, at the risk of his credibility and his career, took on this onus and carried it well into the public arena.
The following video was leaked from a News room, showing unedited discussion of the Chicago O’Hare Airport UFO case among news broadcasters.
2006 O’Hare International Airport UFO sighting.
O’Hare UFO Leaked News Footage seconds before Broadcast