Investigation into unidentified object crashing into desert near Needles, CA


MYSTERY WIRE — This week marks the anniversary of a strange crash on the banks of the Colorado River where three western states converge. Witnesses say it looked like some sort of spacecraft.

The crash happened in the dark hours of May 14, 2008. A still unknown object with a turquoise glow blazed across the sky near Needles, California and crash landed not far from the Colorado River.

Among the witnesses that came forward was a fisherman living on a houseboat. He did not want his real name to be known, so he went by ‘Bob on the river’ or ‘Houseboat Bob’. He said the object made a thump when it hit the ground.

“Bob on the river” telling his story of seeing the mysterious object crash near Needles, CA. (KLAS 2008)

But it’s what he and others saw after the crash that really peaked their interest. In less than 20 minutes, several military style helicopters arrived. This included a large sky crane helicopter, able to lift heavy objects.

The terrain where the crash appeared to happen is a flood-prone area on the Colorado River banks. It is covered in very fine sand and thick scrub brush. So a helicopter would be the best way to get to the site.

Frank Costigan (KLAS 2008)

Frank Costigan was another witness. He worked for 7 years as the chief of airport security at L.A.X. He says the mystery object flew out of the north east, heading southwest, traveling very fast, but at one point it slowed down, then sped up again. Costigan saw it because he got up at 3 a.m. that morning to let his cat out. 

David Hayes, the owner of KTOX radio in Needles, was coming to work when he spotted an odd formation of dark vehicles getting off the highway. He drew us a picture, showing the lead vehicle was a large truck with a dome on top and a black structure that reminded him of a stealth fighter.

David Hayes (KLAS 2008)

“It seemed like it was some kind of surveillance vehicle. four wheel drive.” Hayes told us. “It had government plates, U.S. government plates and behind it were a couple of vans that looked like support vehicles.”

Hayes added the men inside had looked like members of the military, but were not in uniform. One of the men in the truck followed him later that day to the radio station where Hayes said he parked outside, seemingly conducting a surveillance of the place.

In the days after the incident, “Houseboat Bob” retold his story, and added he watched the large sky crane chopper retrieve an object from an area near the riverbank. Bob described it as an oval shaped object, still glowing, and flew away into the darkness with it hanging below the aircraft.

Hayes also saw the object being carried by the helicopter and described it as the size of a semi trailer and oblong shaped.

Near the alleged crash site close to Needles, CA along the Colorado River. (KLAS 2008)

To add to this mysterious incident, the radio station got a call from a friend in nearby Laughlin who said the local airport had been inundated on the night of the crash with so-called JANET planes. These are passenger planes that fly workers to and from military sites including Area 51 normally out of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

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Costigan said the airport could not confirm this because no one was on duty after 6 p.m. Even the air traffic control tower was unstaffed.

Multiple law enforcement and aviation-related agencies were contacted in the weeks that followed but none could confirm the detection of an unknown aerial object on or around May 14.  

A military watchdog group obtained a public record showing there was at least one Army helicopter in the air in that area at the time. But the helicopter was listed as being attached to a U.S. military base in Europe.

A separate mystery developed in connection with the Needles crash.  Residents reported encounters with odd vehicles carrying military-type personnel.  Mystery Wire was eventually able to locate the men and vehicles described by witnesses, and learned  about the highly secretive agency that employed them. That part of this strange story can be read and watched here.

Strange object crashes in Needles, investigation leads to secretive government agency

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