[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 23 October 2005, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Wedding lanterns spark UFO scare
Thai lanterns
How the lanterns would have looked as they floated above Leez Priory
A mystery surrounding the strange spectacle of bright lights reported in the Essex night sky has been solved.

The release of illuminated Thai lanterns over Leez Priory near Great Dunmow caused drivers on the M25 to pull over on the hard shoulder to look.

Amanda Phillips was driving home from Laughton on Thursday: "I was amazed to see about 30 orange lights just hovering just above the M25," she said.

Debbie Mead from the wedding venue Leez said they are now popular at weddings.

Ms Phillips said other motorists stopped on the hard shoulder amazed at the sight.

She said it seemed as if they were hanging from the sky by a thread, about the height a firework would reach.

From the garden of her home in Stapleford near Brentwood, Monique Bass, had a clear view of what she said appeared to be a large group of UFOs in the night sky.

"They were not aeroplanes, nor helicopters, they were red in colour and the first lot had about 30 in the group," she said.

The Ministry of Defence told the BBC that there were no military exercises in the area at the time and air traffic control at Stansted Airport say nothing unusual showed up on the radar.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific