Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

UFO sightings taking off across the country

Numbers trending up over time: report

  • Print

The truth may or may not be out there, but more than 1,000 Canadians appear to be looking for it.

According to the 2013 Canadian UFO Survey, there were 1,180 sightings of unidentified flying objects last year, the second-highest number since the survey began 25 years ago. The highest number of sightings was 1,981, recorded in 2012.

Chris Rutkowski, a Winnipegger who is with Ufology Research and edited the survey, said the numbers have trended up through the years, with 141 reported in 1989.

"I think it's a combination of reasons. More people are aware of things up in the sky and they are puzzling about them," he said.

Highlights of the report include:

-- 65 of the UFO sightings were in Manitoba.

-- Winnipeg recorded the third-highest number of UFO sightings among cities, with 39.

-- There have been 13,786 reported UFO sightings in Canada since 1989, with 1,075 in Manitoba.

Rutkowski said there were an average of about three sightings per day across the country, with the typical one lasting about 13 minutes.

While Rutkowski said more than half of all sightings are "simple lights in the sky," some are definite shapes.

Rutowski said he has an answer to UFO critics who question why there aren't more photos and videos of sightings. "Have you seen pictures taken at night of things in the sky? These are practically useless."

Among last year's sightings, three were classified in the category C3 or "close encounters of the third kind," because people reported seeing actual extraterrestrials. Another three were listed under C4, "close encounters of the fourth kind," described as alien abductions or having alien contact.

The survey said some witnesses were "pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgment."

A few of what the report calls its most reliable and strange "unknowns" include the one involving two children out sledding in Musquodoboit, N.S., on Jan. 8, 2013. The children told their parents they heard a beeping noise before seeing what looked like a flying hotel, a massive structure with protrusions and windows. It flew over a nearby house and vanished.

Rutkowski said this sighting struck him as sincere. "The kids remained true to their story even while the RCMP were talking to them... It's quite likely that they did see something. The question is what?"

Another interesting sighting came from a retired helicopter pilot, who said he watched at least 50 orange, round lights flying in pairs across the sky in Portage la Prairie on Sept. 28.

"I've always been a UFO skeptic and yet I saw those lights," said the senior. "I allow the possibility that there is something out there."

Scott Young, the Manitoba Museum's manager of science communication and visitor experiences, said what the numbers really show is how many people look at the sky.

"We get a couple of hundred calls a year," Young said. "Almost every day we get a call and usually there is a clump of them. Usually it will turn out to be a clear night and Venus will be positioned right -- it's almost always something we can quickly identify."

Young said there are three explanations of what people see when they look up: normal astronomical phenomena such as planets and meteors, aircraft-related and Chinese paper lanterns.

He said an example in the last few days of something believed to be a UFO, which was videoed by a person near the Trans-Canada Highway east of Brandon, couldn't be explained by the person who took the video.

"Ironically, it's because more people are taking pictures of them and with more pictures I know what they are -- I knew immediately this was parachute flares during an exercise (at CFB Shilo)," Young said.

Rutkowski said the Brandon video doesn't hurt the argument for UFOs. "It does show the person wasn't making it up -- it wasn't a hoax, it was a misinterpretation."

-- with Canadian Press files

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 12, 2014 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Andrew Ladd talks about his injury

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Ads by Google