© Dean Johnson
Wenatchee Valley, Washington State
East Wenatchee - Maybe you were out Tuesday for a late-evening stroll and gazed upward to admire the night's majestic spray of stars when ...
"It came flying out of the sky like a station wagon on fire,"
said Rick Throneberry, a Wenatchee resident who says he saw a fireball dropping from the cosmos "like something blew up and burned in flames all the way down."
Throneberry, who lives near the corner of Maple Street and Western Avenue, said he was standing in his yard chatting with his father about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday when he glanced to the northeast, toward Waterville, and saw the fireball falling, falling beyond the rim of Badger Mountain.
"It wasn't getting dimmer as it dropped," he said. "It was still in full flame when I lost sight of it behind Badger. I even waited ... thinking there might be an explosion. It never came."
Throneberry isn't alone. Another resident, this one in East Wenatchee, witnessed a blazing ball and, thinking it was a crashing plane, called the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
"Let's see," said Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal, scrolling on Friday through official documents for the exactly the right report. "Airplane crash, nope. Bright lights, nope. Fireball from the sky, nope. I think I might need to call you back on this one."
He did, just 15 minutes later. "Here it is," said Gjesdal. "The call came in around 10:15 p.m. that a big bright yellow ball of light - maybe an airplane, maybe a meteor or something - zoomed across the sky from Malaga over to a point off Batterman Road." That road runs below the western slope of Badger Mountain.
"Deputies in the area were on the scene quickly," said Gjesdal. "But they didn't see or hear anything. No bright lights. No fire. No signs of a crashed airplane or ..." The sheriff paused.
Or ... what? An exploded meteor? An alien craft? Signs of the Apocalypse?
"Or ... anything at all out of the ordinary. Nothing suspicious," he said.
Still, Throneberry insisted something bright and burning went down behind Badger. "It was huge," he said. "And it was right there in front of my eyes."