|Clear sky, stars, full moon, and no wind. Duration of sighting 2-3 minutes.
Several witnesses (three adults and children) noticed an A300 jet passing over their house. The reporting witness, a Police Officer, stated the aircraft was lower than they normally are on this flight path, but it is not uncommon. What caught the witness’s attention initially was that the jet was fully lit up, all landing lights under the fuselage were illuminated and they commented they had never seen an aircraft lit up like this before when passing over their house. It did not have its landing gear down as it was climbing in altitude.
The witnesses then noticed a large bright orange light/object heading straight towards the right-hand underside of the aircraft, and it looked as if the two would collide. The orange light/object passed underneath the jet at an estimated altitude of around 500 feet and continued in its easterly direction at a constant speed, while the jet kept climbing. The jet was travelling west to east, having departed Auckland airport, and the light/object was on a more north-westerly to east path.
The orange light/object was intensely bright, and maintained a constant direction and altitude. The reporting witness stated he is used to aircraft from the airport passing overhead and is very familiar with the Eagle helicopter, and knows different aircraft by the distinctive sounds they make. This light/object made no sound. The light/object appeared to be disc-shaped, but its brightness made this hard to determine whether it was an orb or disc.
The witness estimated the speed of the light/object to be approximately 50 km/h and it took some time before it passed out of view. After about 3 minutes the light increased in speed and went out of sight over the New Lynn area.
The witness estimated the light/object was approximately 3 to 4 m wide, which he estimated by comparing its size against the fuselage of the aircraft. It was larger than a helicopter.
The witness stated: “I keep replaying in my mind why the A30 aircraft was so illuminated at the time, as this was very unusual. I wondered whether this was because the brightness of the object had eliminated the underside of the aircraft, or whether the aircraft had put all its exterior lights on as they had seen the object was nearing them and they were attempting to light up the fuselage so the object would avoid a collision. The (low) altitude of an aircraft this size also surprised me and I thought maybe it had altered its trajectory to avoid a collision. I do not know, this is just a theory, and I’m still blown away by what we saw.”