Videos of a 2021 incident some marines believed to be a triangular UFO hovering over their California base, have been debunked as simply flares.
UFO researcher John Greenewald Jr. obtained dozens of photos, video and documents from the Pentagon last week which appear to explain the lights filmed on April 20, 2021 at Camp Wilson near Twentynine Palms, California, mistaken for a triangular ‘craft’.
In May, documentarian Jeremy Corbell and journalist George Knapp shared with DailyMail.com three photos and five videos from the 2021 incident, showing five lights appearing to hover in the sky.
One of the photos appeared to show a solid triangular shape around the lights, and two marines who witnessed the incident said they believed it was a craft.
Corbell and Knapp said they had investigated the incident for two years.
But videos and photos obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) this month by Greenewald – an expert in such requests – show smoke trails above the five lights indicating they were flares, and long exposure effects suggesting they were not hovering but slowly descending, as flares do.
A black triangular shaped UFO with five red lights was seen hovering in the night sky at Camp Wilson in California on April 20, 2021
DailyMail.com can reveal the ‘UFO sighting’ has been debunked and the lights were simply flares
Smoke trails above the five lights indicate they were flares, and long exposure effects suggest they were not hovering but slowly descending, as flares do
Veteran debunker Mick West, who often appears on UFO shows voicing a skeptical view on alleged exotic incidents, managed to match with precision the alleged UFO lights to a confirmed video of flares shot during a training exercise that evening on the military base.
UFO researcher John Greenewald Jr. obtained dozens of photos, video and documents from the Pentagon last week which appear to explain the lights filmed on April 20, 2021
In a video posted on YouTube, West explained the triangular shape around the lights in one of Corbell and Knapp’s photos as ‘just the color bleed, which you can see around other objects in the scene.’
Flares often stay lit for between four and seven minutes, and the parachutes they hang beneath can descend slowly enough that they appear from a distance to hover.
‘The five lights start out in a nice formation that evokes a triangle, but they quickly separate into more random positions like flares do,’ West said in his video.
‘John found footage of five flares that looks very similar, I realized this looked like it was taken from the other side. So I flipped it and overlaid it, and it’s a near perfect match.’
A mortarman who filmed some of the footage while serving at Camp Wilson spoke with Corbell days afterwards in 2021.
In a recorded interview, he said the lights stuck around for about 10 minutes and left him and his comrades ‘baffled’.
‘One of my buddies was outside. He was looking at the sky and said that it just kind of appeared out of nowhere,’ he said. ‘And we all came out and looked and then slowly like 50-plus people started coming out and looking. Those lights appeared out of nowhere.
‘If you look at the picture, you can see a black triangular shape.
‘With the picture I took with the black triangular shape underneath the lights, it’s definitely not any type of flare thing or illumination rounds.’
In May, documentarian Jeremy Corbell and journalist George Knapp (pictured together) shared with DailyMail.com three photos and five videos from the 2021 incident, showing five lights appearing to hover in the sky
However, military press releases show there was a large training exercise with many flares, aircraft flyovers and drones in the sky on the night of April 20 2021.
The ‘Night Air Assault’ was conducted by ‘2nd Marine Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, and aircraft attached to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1’ according to a post published by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) that day.
The matching footage of the flares, where a smoke trail is visible, was published in a compilation of background night vision video by DVIDS, and first unearthed by Greenewald.
Veteran debunker Mick West, who often appears on UFO shows voicing a skeptical view on alleged exotic incidents, managed to match with precision the alleged UFO lights to a confirmed video of flares shot during a training exercise that evening on the military base
The marine witnesses told Corbell that flares were fired to try to light up the alleged triangle object.
Among the 128 photos Greenewald obtained this month via FOIA is a picture of two flares in the night sky, next to five smoke trails from extinguished flares which he believes were the source of the five mysterious lights – and could explain the marines’ account.
In the May 22 episode of Corbell and Knapp’s podcast Weaponized, where they first revealed the footage, Corbell said: ‘This was an object. The object was sitting there. I’m not going to say object anymore. It was a craft.
‘This is something that was a mass sighting of a UFO, an incursion over a military base. This was a craft.’
But in an episode the following week, they backed off their claims, characterizing the publication as ‘an effort to generate additional information’.
‘It was like a UFO crime not to have a case completely solved,’ Corbell said in the May 29 episode. ‘There are some great hypotheses that people have brought forward.’
Knapp joked that they had not ‘declared our belief that this is an alien spaceship from the planet Krondak’, adding: ‘What sold it for me, that it was interesting, was the photos taken with low light features that really do look like they substantiated triangular form.’
In a statement to DailyMail.com this week, Corbell defended the marines’ testimony as coming from ‘trained military observers’, but conceded that ‘What appears to be smoke trails illuminated seems compelling and is now a leading theory.’
‘We now owe it to our brave service members to fully investigate further based on this new information and further updates can be expected,’ the filmmaker said.
Greenewald, who published the FOIA video and pictures on his website The Black Vault, told DailyMail.com that Corbell and Knapp have previously released footage of genuine unidentified objects that have been authenticated by the Pentagon, but that this incident was fully explained.
‘I’m confident there is something to these phenomena and I’m not afraid to call out the stuff that is over hyped or potentially even damaging to the UAP conversation,’ he said.
‘There is ample evidence now the lights which matched the formation of the lights on the alleged ‘UAP’ were indeed flares.
‘I’d love to know why all that is. How have we gone from legitimate and even confirmed evidence being leaked, to this? It’s a bizarre progression, and one I feel is far from fully revealed.’
Electronics expert Craig Capel tweeted pointing out that the flares in one picture are purple, a color which can be created by burning cesium or potassium, but these are not usually used for military flares, which usually burn red using strontium
Despite the convincing debunk, others still argue that the lights have a different explanation.
Electronics expert Craig Capel tweeted pointing out that the flares in one picture are purple, a color which can be created by burning cesium or potassium, but these are not usually used for military flares, which usually burn red using strontium.
However, the colors may be affected by the iPhone camera adjusting for low-light conditions, and may not be an accurate depiction of their true color in the sky.
‘Given the coincidences with date and location, and the fact that these lights look and act like flares, I think we can safely say that these are the actual flares that were misidentified as a UFO,’ West said in his video.
‘Military personnel are human, they are subject to the same illusions that we are. Sometimes when faced with something new, they might not be able to identify it. This happens perhaps more than we might like, but it’s not something we should ignore, just because it seems impolite.
‘When looking at a UFO video, keep an open mind. Consider all the possibilities.’
West writes about attempting to debunk alleged UFO incidents and other claimed conspiracy theories in his book, Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect, first published in 2018 and re-released in a revised copy last month.