Taken on the morning of June 4 by a resident in Hope of a “strange blurry object.” (ufosnw.com)

Bright lights, light-fingered aliens: all part of annual report on UFO sightings

Six people in B.C. reported sightings of unidentified flying objects.

Bright lights, airplane near-misses and light-fingered aliens with a penchant for cool shades are all part of the annual report on UFO sightings in Canada.

The 2016 Canadian UFO Survey produced by Winnipeg-based Ufology Research was released this week. In total, there were 1,131 sightings of unidentified flying objects reported across Canada.

Six were from right here in B.C.

In a first for the 28 years the study has been conducted, only four per cent of the sightings could not be explained.

Study author Chris Rutkowski said that record-low rating is likely the result of more careful scrutiny of raw report information available.

Summer is the big time of year for UFO sightings and mostly they were simply lights that people saw in the sky.

The provinces with the largest populations had the most reports, so Quebec led the country with 38.5 per cent of the sightings, while Ontario had 26 per cent and British Columbia had 17 per cent.

A person in Hope reported a fuzzy object in the sky on the morning of June 4.

“I just noticed it when I looked thru my pictures later in the day and it freaked me a little,” the spotter wrote to the research group.

They later noted that “the object is probably a bird or insect. The camera was zoomed out and the focal length was short. The apparent blurring is probably due to motion and the object is probably close to the lens.”

The most popular shape of UFO reported in 2016 was a simple point source of light (57 per cent). Other shapes reported were triangle (four per cent), ball (nine per cent), cigar (three per cent) and fireball (five per cent). The classic “flying saucer” was only reported 48 times.

As for what the study calls “unknowns,” they included such cases as the “gigantic, disc-shaped object with searchlights” that was seen moving over the mountains in North Vancouver, and the boomerang-shaped “cluster of stars” that moved across the sky near St. Thomas, Ont.

There was also the commercial airplane over Toronto that had a near miss with an object while on a routine flight on Nov. 14.

“The flight crew noticed an object directly ahead on their flight path. The object appeared to be solid, approximately five to eight feet in diameter and shaped like an upright doughnut or inner tube,” said the study.

“Cabin crew members received minor injuries when evasive action was taken. While the object was not likely a balloon and was suggested to be a drone, it was noted that drones could not fly at that altitude and distance.”

The study said the Transportation Safety Board ruled the incident as “a near collision with an unidentified airborne object.”