A ‘Meteorite’ Hunt Makes a Splash Around Barnegat Bay
By MARTIN WALDRON
Special to The New York Times
HARBOR,. N.J. – About 9:45 o'clock on the evening of
April 18 while Frank Forka was walking the family
dogs along the beach, the dogs---a brown Labrador and a black and brown mixed
beagle and retriever--began barking furiously in the direction of Barnegat
is 15 years old, turned to find out why the dogs were barking and saw a
"silvery" object “as big as a truck" slanting in from the
"It was about 60 to 70 feet above the water, and
there was a low rumbling noise," he said later. Then it hit the water, and I could hear a
hissing sound as it went beneath the waves."
sighting set off what has become the big meteorite hunt of 1979 locally and
has given residents of the Jersey Shore, now deep in spring cleaning,
something to talk about other than an impending invasion of 17-year
"locusts" and the possibility that the summer tourist season may be
aborted by a gasoline shortage.
where the silvery object fell into Barnegat Bay between the shore and Long Beach
Island is 40 miles north of Atlantic City and near Bricktown,
an area where so many "flying saucer” sightings have been reported that
three months ago, Patrolman Donald Horbelt was
moved to comment: "I'm going crazy with U.F.O. calls. If l hear one more U.F.O. story, I'm going, to scream."
there was an inclination to shrug off Frank Forka's
story as another unidentified flying object hoax. But when calls came to the
police from other people claiming to have seen a burning object fall from the
sky into the bay, the Coast Guard sent a crew to investigate.
found nothing. But six days after the “sighting,” two clamers
from Lanoka Harbor, came across a big rock partly buried in the bottom of
Barnegat Bay, there nine feet deep at about the spot where Frank Forka had seen something go "hissing" into the
water. A diver from the state marine police, Sgt. Carl Loeser,
examined the rock and reported that it was about 8 feet long, 2 feet wide and
were growing on it, an indication that the rock had not been in the water
long, Sergeant Loeser said.
were being laid to recover the rock, which could weigh several tons, members
of the Coast Guard marked it with buoys twice. Both times, the buoys either
were stolen or broke loose from their moorings and were swept away by tide
and winds. The Coast Guard plans to try again to find and mark the object
when the waves calm, probably On Monday.
have doubts that the rock is a meteorite. Dr. Roy S. Clarke, curator of
meteorites for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, has been following
the search at long distance, but with considerable interest.
wants a piece of it, and perhaps the whole thing, but has been issuing
periodic disclaimers noting that a meteorite that size would have provided a
"spectacular" display in the night sky, not the soft silvery glow
Frank Forka reported.
would be sonic booms and a bright fireball over a large area," said Dr.
attempting to explain Frank Forka's sighting, some
authorities have suggested that since there are no native boulders of, that
size in the area, the big rock in Barnegat Bay might have fallen from a barge
hauling construction material, along the Intracoastal Waterway.
text regarding locusts and the tourist season deleted – CF]
This is the Original reference: The New York Times dated
May 05, 1979, p. 26, col. 1-4
UFOCAT PRN – NONE
UFOCAT URN – NONE
The New York Times dated May 05, 1979, p. 26, col. 1-4
UFOCAT URN – NONE “Res Bureaux Bulletin” No. 47, May 1979, printed in Canada
UFOCAT URN – NONE
INFO Journal Vol. 8, No. 1, Whole #35, May-June 1979
North America – United States, New Jersey
Barnegat Bay Latitude
39-48-17 N, Longitude 74-08-41 W (D-M-S)
Long Beach Island Latitude
39-39-35 N, Longitude 74-10-15 W
Bricktown Latitude 40-33-33 N,
Longitude 74-08-14 W
Harbor Latitude 39-52-00 N,
Longitude 74-10-05 W