Social media and local news outlets throughout upstate New York were swamped with reports of strange lights over Lake Ontario on the evening of May 23rd. Just around dusk, a formation of eerie floating lights appeared over the Canadian side of the lake, prompting curiosity from hundreds of local residents.
Eyewitness Kate Caven told local Buffalo news station WIVB that residents throughout the Lake Ontario region were perplexed about the source of the lights, which seemed to hover in the air above the lake:
Some people were concerned maybe they were distress signals, but we couldn’t see any boats. And then some people mentioned maybe a meteor shower, but again they weren’t really moving. So that’s pretty much what most people were saying other than UFOs or aliens. I joked around with my friend Matt who was with me, if they were coming to take us, I was ready, that that wasn’t a bad way to go out if I could see an alien.
It sure wouldn’t be, Karen. Shortly after the reports came in, however, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) claimed responsibility for the sighting. According to an RCAF spokesperson, the lights were training flares dropped by a Hercules Model 8 CCC-130H aircraft in the 424th squadron out of 8 wing Trenton, Ontario, who were conducting a search and rescue exercise in the area.
However, there are some alleged inconsistencies in the RCAF’s story. The RCAF spokesperson’s statement claims the flares were dropped around 9:30 p.m., yet some social media commenters noted that they observed the flares hours earlier. Other commenters noted that the lights appeared to move up and down in the air above the lake. Of course, the mind sometimes sees what it wants to see, and at such a distance, it could be difficult to judge movement.
Meanwhile, according to a few sources, the U.S. Coast Guard reportedly initially ruled out basic flares as the source of the phenomenon. However, a quick comparison with images of artillery flares indeed shows a clear resemblance to the Lake Ontario lights. While a government UFO cover-up makes for great headlines, this case is likely exactly what the RCAF says it was.