Screencapture from Las Vegas police body camera footage; red circle drawn by Motherboard staff.
NASA’s planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson, tells Motherboard that a green fireball observed last month by, among others, a Las Vegas police officer was likely a bright meteor less than a meter in size and certainly not a UFO that fell in anyone’s backyard.Las Vegas cops, meanwhile, tell Motherboard that while they didn’t find aliens in a manhunt last month, they do hope to do so in the future, citing the city’s proximity to Area 51.
At issue here is footage that went wildly viral over the weekend depicting the aftermath of a UFO sighting. Last month, as reported by KLAS, a man called the Las Vegas police to report something startling: After an object fell from the sky, he and his family saw a non-human being at least eight feet tall in their backyard.“It has big eyes and it’s looking at us,” the man told a 911 dispatcher.Body camera footage documenting the police response to the call shows that officers on the scene found the report credible. The first of two videos released in response to records requests show officers responding to the call in the early morning hours of May 1. As they pull up to a house, four people are on a lawn. The footage went viral over the weekend after the KLAS report.“Me and him saw it,” says one man. “It was like a big creature,” says another. “Around 10 feet tall.”A police officer immediately reassures him that he finds their story credible.“I’m not gonna BS you guys,” he says. “One of my partners saw something fall out of the sky, too.”Footage captured by another police officer’s body camera earlier that night in the same area indeed appears to show a glowing green orb falling out of the sky. This object was recorded in the American Meteor Society’s fireball logs, but not those of NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, or CNEOS. While discrepancies like this are the sort of thing that fuels conspiracy theories about NASA coverups, Johnson, the planetary defense officer, offered a straightforward explanation, saying, “The CNEOS website only captures reports for objects that are estimated to have exceeded 1 meter in size based on the observed total energy released—in other words natural objects which were large enough to be categorized as asteroids prior to entering Earth’s atmosphere.”
Based on its observed speed, he added, it would have been high in the atmosphere and hundreds of miles away from Las Vegas at the time it was spotted. “So nothing from the meteor landed in anyone’s backyard in Vegas,” he said.Unaware of all this, police responding to the 911 call promptly and apparently conscientiously searched the family’s backyard; 16 minutes of this footage was redacted because, police told Motherboard, it was taken on private property. (They assured Motherboard that no UFO was found.) When the footage resumes, the officer is assuring witnesses that even though he hasn’t found a UFO he finds their report credible, noting that while he was on a call at a nearby Target, one of his partners had seen what she thought was a shooting star in the sky—exactly at the same time the eyewitnesses had seen a mysterious object fall from the heavens.More body camera footage from another officer reveals that an extensive search took place, with the officer, after asking a witness if he’d seen which way the aliens went, flagging down a car to ask the occupants to ask if they’d seen a UFO or tall, non-human beings.“Hey, this might sound like a really dumb question,” he says, “but did you guys see anything fall out of the sky?”The people in the car say they did not see anything.
“We got a call and one of my partners actually said that they saw it, too,” the officer says before explaining that their neighbors had described a UFO crashing and urging them to call 911 if they saw an alien. “They said they saw something with eight to nine feet, no clothes, green-colored men, not human, with, like, the eyes were glowing and it was not a human being.”As the officers were departing the scene, one of the witnesses said he was uneasy spending the night at home after what he’d seen. “I’m going to a hotel, man,” he said.Last week, one of the witnesses released a video describing his experiences titled “I had aliens in my backyard.”Becky Ferreira contributed reporting.