The incident was reported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office by a witness as a plane crash. The caller sent some photos clearly picturing a fiery streak across the sky over southwestern Polk County, seemingly crashing near Salem.
Deputies with Polk County Sheriff’s Office determined the location of the assumed crash site and set out with aircraft to investigate. However, nothing was found and no planes were reported missing, leaving deputies with nothing but speculation as to what the glowing object could have been.
Officers posted an update on Facebook, stating the matter was under investigation.
“PCSO is currently investigating a large fireball falling to the earth in the southwest area of Polk County,” the post said. “The fireball was reported as a plane crash and PCSO is working to locate a possible landing location and exactly what the fireball is.”
“We can say with confidence that it was not a plane crash. So, we think it was some type of natural event,” Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Dustin Newman told KATU News.
Sheriff Mark Garton said that police “really believe it was a meteor,” and hinted at a “somewhat rare meteor shower” that was registered in the area, Newsweek reported.
Sgt. Mark Robertson, on the other hand, told the Daily Mail they “are not 100 percent sure.”
However, the witness to the “crash,” Richard Romano, the man who also provided the pictures to the police, dismisses the possibility of it being a meteor.
“I saw the airplane going the same path as the fireball was. Same exact path. In the time it took to get over there, for me walking and checking the mail, it gave him time to get right there where I saw the fireball. And I’m looking for the plane, and I don’t see the plane anymore,” Romano told KATU, adding: “I’ve seen meteors before, and they’re bright white and in five seconds they’re gone. That one lasted way too long.”
Meanwhile, Facebook was brimming with comments and speculation as to what the mysterious fiery object might have been.
“They are among us,” one user wrote.
“[Holding] off until tomorrow so they can let the government retrieve the crashed spaceship in the wee hours of the night,” speculated another.