A pilot and his co-pilot have spotted a mysterious orange and red glow over the Pacific Ocean. The strange lights were spotted south of the Russian peninsula Kamchatka during the flight of a Boeing 747-8 from Hong Kong to Anchorage, Alaska.
And while no explanation has yet been given, it's thought that they may have originated from the explosion of a huge volcano under the surface of the ocean.
Strange lights have been spotted near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka
The sighting was made by pilots flying from Hong Kong to Alaska
The glow came about 20 minutes after a vertical lightning bolt was seen
Dutch pilot van Heijst ruled out squid-fishing-boats as the origin
He says the cause may have been an underwater volcano
An ongoing investigation is taking place to find out what happened
Dutch pilot JPC van Heijst explained on PBase how, five hours into the ten-hour flight, they spotted an intense flash of light like a lightning bolt, directed vertically up in the distance.
This was then followed by a deep red and orange glow 20 minutes later.And the experience left van Heijst somewhat perturbed, owing to the lack of an explanation for what happened.
‘Last night over the Pacific Ocean, somewhere South of the Russian peninsula Kamchatka I experienced the creepiest thing so far in my flying career,’ he said.
There were no thunderstorms on their route or weather-radar, suggesting the lightning did not originate in a storm.
The glow is also a mystery; similar lights have been spotted from squid-fishing-boats, but van Heijst says this ‘would not make sense in this area’.
‘The closer we got, the more intense the glow became, illuminating the clouds and sky below us in a scary orange glow, in a part of the world where there was supposed to be nothing but water,’ he continued.
‘The only cause of this red glow that we could think of, was the explosion of a huge volcano just underneath the surface of the ocean, about 30 minutes before we overflew that exact position.’
He was then nervous of encountering an ash-plume in the middle of the night, but fortunately they did not encounter anything of the sort.
Before the flight they had heard via radio about earthquakes in Iceland, Chile and San Francisco.
But despite their being a few volcanoes on their route, they had had not been alerted to any new activity - although this doesn't necessarily include unseen underwater volcanoes.
Together with his co-pilot van Heijst says they felt ‘everything but comfortable’, while no other aircraft were nearby to confirm the sighting.
‘We reported our observations to Air Traffic Control and an investigation into what happened in this remote region of the ocean is now started,’ he added.
I decided to try and take some pictures of the night sky and the strange green glow that was all over the Northern Hemisphere. I think it was sort of a Northern Lights but it was much more dispersed, never seen anything like this before either. About 20 minutes later in flight I noticed a deep red/orange glow appearing ahead of us, and this was a bit strange since there was supposed to be nothing but endless ocean below us for hundreds of miles around us. A distant city or group of typical Asian squid-fishing-boats would not make sense in this area, apart from the fact that the lights we saw were much larger in size and glowed red/orange, instead of the normal yellow and white that cities or ships would produce.
The closer we got, the more intense the glow became, illuminating the clouds and sky below us in a scary orange glow. In a part of the world where there was supposed to be nothing but water.
The only cause of this red glow that we could think of, was the explosion of a huge volcano just underneath the surface of the ocean, about 30 minutes before we overflew that exact position.
Since the nearest possible airport was at least 2 hours flying away, and the idea of flying into a highly dangerous and invisible ash-plume in the middle of the night over the vast Pacific Ocean we felt not exactly happy. Fortunately we did not encounter anything like this, but together with the very creepy unexplainable deep red/orange glow from the ocean's surface, we felt everything but comfortable. There was also no other traffic near our position or on the same routing to confirm anything of what we saw or confirm any type of ash clouds encountered.
We reported our observations to Air Traffic Control and an investigation into what happened in this remote region of the ocean is now started.
Two photos included, hardly edited except for watermark and resize. Note that photos are taken with extremely high ISO (sensor sensitivity) so quality might be a bit poor. Also an overview of our route + marking of the location is included.
Now I'm just hoping that if a new island has been formed there, at least it can be named after me as the official discoverer. :)
That would be pretty cool!
WHAT CAUSED THIS MYSTERY GLOW?
After the initial vertical lightning bolt it was thought the phenomenon could have been a thunderstorm, but that was ruled out when none were reported in the area.The predominant theory at the moment is that the lights were caused by an underwater volcano.
Such eruptions are not unprecedented; on 21 November 2013 an submarine volcano famously created a new 'island' off the coast of Japan.Another explanation is they were caused by lights from fishing boats.
Last week astronaut Reid Riseman was left baffled by a similarly bizarre green flurry of lights (shown below) off the coast of Bangkok.It is thought those lights were in fact created by fishing boats. The offshore illumination comes from enormous arrays of bright green LED lights used to attract squid and other sea life to the surface.However that explanation has been ruled out for the latest mystery glow, as more than 50 boats would be needed to produce light of this magnitude - but no fleet of fishing boats was thought to be operating in the area.