GALVESTON — A bright, orange fireball hovered westward before disappearing from the Galveston coastline, prompting witnesses who photographed the unidentified flying object to ponder the mystery light’s origin.
Daniel Gonzales, 41, a city of Galveston employee, said he saw the light shortly before 7 p.m. Monday while in his backyard with his nephew.
“I know several other people in the area on the seawall saw it,” Gonzales said.
Galveston police dispatchers, the U.S. Coast Guard and National Weather Service had no reports of the mystery light. At Scholes International Airport in Galveston, the wind at 7 p.m. registered at 12 mph from the northeast, which could cause a suspended object to float toward the southwest, National Weather Service Meteorologist Don Oettinger said.
Gonzales, whose home is about two blocks off the beach at 42nd Street, noticed the object that looked like a headlight coming toward him from an estimated 5 miles offshore
“As it got it got closer to land, I said, ‘What is that?’” Gonzales said. “It turned orange and started moving westward. My nephew was convinced it was not an airplane and started taking pictures with his phone.”
The light first resembled a star brighter than others. Gonzales estimated the light moved westward about 5 to 10 mph and eventually disappeared about 7 p.m. near 61st Street.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Joe Gonzales Jr. said. “It kind of freaked me out. I was like, ‘Aw, shoot. What did I just see?’”
Joe Gonzales said the light had a distinctive glow and that he could see flames coming from its back like a movie prop.
“It couldn’t have been a meteor,” Daniel Gonzales said. “My nephew took six pictures of it. It wasn’t a flare. This thing was going westward and just vanished.”
Another woman who was walking her dog at Avenue U and 43rd Street saw the light about 7 p.m. As she looked westward, she saw it above land on 61st Street. The woman asked The Daily News not to reveal her name.
Neither Daniel Gonzales nor his nephew thought the object was a paper lantern.
“Unless they’re making lanterns the size of helicopters,” Daniel Gonzales said.