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Weird lights over bay from training exercises

Posted: March 18, 2013 - 1:50pm

Strange lights seen hovering over Kachemak Bay about 8 p.m. last Wednesday night weren't UFOs or other mysterious objects. The lights came from flares dropped from an Alaska Air National Guard Hercules C-130 doing night training.

Units from the 175th Wing's 211th and the 212th Rescue Squadrons were in Homer last week doing night drop training, said Kalei Rupp, an Alaska National Guard spokesperson. Guardian angel teams, as the guard calls pararescuers, did parachute jumps from planes. The flares illuminated a target area on the water for the jump.

Rupp said the Alaska Air National Guard usually notifies the U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Service when it does training in Homer.

Homer Police received multiple calls of flares on March 6, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl, and knew that another agency was doing training.

"It definitely was not anyone in distress or up to any funny business," Robl said.

One person who called the Homer News, East Skyline Drive resident Daisy Lee Bitter, said she saw bright lights over the east end of Kachemak Bay. One light appeared to be headed toward her property on the hillside.

"It was scary," Bitter said. "I thought it was going to crash into my house."

211th Rescue Squadron flies the Hercules C-130s that do search-and-rescue missions and aerial refueling for Pave Hawk helicopters with the 210th Rescue Squadron. The 212th Rescue Squadron are the elite pararescuers, or PJs, trained in combat medicine, marksmanship, wilderness survival, scuba diving and skydiving.

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