'Phoenix Lights' UFO theories still swirl 16 years after sightings

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A still image taken from home video from the 'Phoenix Lights' event March 13, 1997. A still image taken from home video from the 'Phoenix Lights' event March 13, 1997.

Sixteen years after a group of mysterious lights were spotted by thousands throughout the Valley, theories still swirl about what was overhead.

"Most people saw a mile to two-mile wide formation of lights in a V-formation gliding (at) rooftop level," said Dr. Lynne Kitei, who has been studying the phenomenon for years.

"Some people actually saw a craft. Others saw these orbs detach from the main environment," she continued.

The mass sighting happened March 13, 1997, and Kitei says she's surprised there still has not been any definitive answer as to what was in the sky above Phoenix.

"It is amazing to me it's 16 years since the most historic and still unexplained mass UFO sighting in modern history, which took place right here in Arizona," she said.

Kitei says officials at Luke Air Force Base initially said the lights had nothing to do with any military planes or aircraft, but that story soon changed.

"About a month (after a front page June 1997 USA Today article about the sightings), the flare theory emerged," she explained, referring to the explanation that the Phoenix Lights were actually part of a military exercise. Dr. Kitei says this theory began more than five months after the original March 13, 1997 mass sightings.

However, Kitei says she recently received Air Force documents dated May 1, 1997 that state Luke Air Force Base was not involved in any way with the lights over Phoenix.

"I have been searching for a logical explanation meticulously for the last 16 years," said Kitei.

"I don't know what these things are, but I know they are. So it's time we get this topic out in the open. So address it, accept it and study it, she added.

Kitei and other experts will be showing the Phoenix Lights Documentary this Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m. at Scottsdale Harkins Shea Cinema. There will be a Q-and-A session about the phenomenon after the showing.

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