The Kaikoura Lights is a name given by the
New Zealandmedia to a series of sightings that occurred in December 1978, over the skies above the Kaikoura mountain ranges of the northeastern South Islandof New Zealand. The first sightings were made on December 21 when the crew of a Safe Air Ltd cargo aircraft began observing a series of strange lights around their Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosyaircraft, which tracked along with their aircraft for several minutes before disappearing and then reappearing elsewhere. The pilots described some of the lights to be the size of a house and others small but flashing brilliantly. These objects appeared on the air traffic controllerradar in Wellingtonand also on the aircraft's on-board radar. The objects were also seen by hundreds of people on the ground.Verify source|date=October 2008
On December 30, 1978, a television crew from
Australiarecorded background film for a network show on interviews about the sightings. For many minutes at a time on the flight to Christchurch, unidentified lights were observed by five people on the flight deck, were tracked by Wellington Air Traffic Controllers, and filmed in color by the television crew. One object reportedly followed the aircraft almost until landing. The cargo plane then took off again with the television crew still on board, heading for Blenheim. When the aircraft reached about 2000 feet, it encountered a gigantic lighted orb,Verify source|date=October 2008 which fell into station off the wing tip and tracked along with the cargo aircraft for almost quarter of an hour, while being filmed, watched, tracked on the aircraft radar and described on a tape recording made by the TV film crew.
Following the sightings, the
Royal New Zealand Air Force, the police and the Carter Observatory in Wellington cooperated in an investigation, the results of which were stamped Top SecretVerify source|date=October 2008 and lodged in the National Archives in Wellington. The New Zealand Ministry of Defence attributed the sightings to lights from squid boats reflected off clouds, unburned meteors, or lights from the planet Venus or trains and cars [cite news|first =Mere |last =Mulu|url=http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikatotimes/4143125a19807.html|title=We are not alone: lights in the sky| publisher = Waikato Times|date= 2007-07-28|accessdate=2007-11-28] . In the United States, investigating scientists who are still extracting a wealth of detailed information from that film, which one of them has described as being comparable in scientific interest to the rocks brought back from the moon.Verify source|date=October 2008
* "The Kaikoura UFOs". ISBN 0-340-25689-3. Startup, Bill; Illingworth, Neill; 1980; Hodder and Stoughton; Auckland, London, Sydney; Paperback;
* New Zealand UFO Studies Centre: "Kaikoura UFO Controversy" edited by Rocky Wood. Wellington (New Zealand) : New Zealand UFO Studies Centre, 1980. - 22 s. - (4th special issue)
* [http://ufos.about.com/od/visualproofphotosvideo/a/kaikoura.htm The 1978 Kaikoura, New Zealand Photographs]
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