While talking with the host of a radio program about my new book, Crash: When UFOs Fall from the Sky (shameless plug number two), he asked if I knew anything about a crash in Minnesota in July, 2009. I said that I didn’t but that I would see what I could learn.
The incident took place on July 27, 2009 (which, coincidentally is the same date as the last entry in the book, but that crash was in Ottawa, Canada), in the Forest Lake area of Minnesota. According to the original reports, an eyewitness said that something fell out of the sky and hit the surface of Lake Sylvan, causing a thirty foot wave.
Several local agencies including the Forest Lake Fire and Rescue, and the Washington County Dive Team responded. They searched the lake about 165 yards from the shore, to a depth of 26 feet, but could see little in the murky water.
The county team used side-scanning radar and, according to the sheriff’s office, something about the size of washer or dryer was located. No one suggested that what had been found was either of those, only that it was about the size of them.
Rich Webb, who was described as a MUFON Field Investigator and a member of the MUFON Star Team, left Omaha and made the trip to Minnesota, after someone had left a tip about the crash on the MUFON website. Webb made it clear that no one had reported anything falling, they had just seen the rippling of the water and it was assumed that something had fallen. There had been a report to the Forest Lake Police Department that there had been a large swirl of water, the waves rippling out and the water churning.
Reports indicated that the disturbance lasted from five to seven minutes and that the waves had gone out from the center for about thirty to forty feet, but they were not that high. No debris suggesting any sort of aircraft accident had been found. Only the Washington County Sheriff’s Office report of the object found by sonar on the bottom of the lake. Webb did say that there were two unusual things. There was a centrally circular wave moving outward and a twenty-foot diameter of air bubbles coming from the bottom of the lake.
Richard Lang, another of the MUFON investigators who made the trip, said that based on their findings, they didn’t believe a UFO had fallen into the lake.
By October, things had settled down, but there still had been no answers about what caused the disturbance. On September 10, divers found a rock, boulder really, that weighed about forty pounds that had a hole drilled in it and a bit of nylon rope attached to it. Clearly this was nothing from a UFO, but sounds suspiciously like an old-fashioned, or homemade boat anchor.
Sheriff Bill Hutton said that they didn’t know what had fallen into the lake though dozens of rescue workers had responded in July. He just said he didn’t think it was a meteor or anything from an airplane.
In contrast, Steve McComas, who appeared on Joe Soucheray’s KSTP-AM radio’s, "Garage Logic" thought it might have been something that fell from an aircraft. He thought it might be "blue ice" which is a mixture of human waste and blue liquid disinfectant that sometimes leaks from the lavatories of commercial airliners. I prefer the term, "Icy BM."
But then, no one saw anything fall.
Frank Kvidera said that he might have a solution for the rock that had been found. He said that something like forty years earlier, he had been out in a row boat with a friend who had a rock with a hole drilled in it. They lost their makeshift anchor when the rope broke. Odd as it might seem, this sounds like a plausible answer for that one small part of the mystery.
In the end, there is no explanation for the swirling mass of water. It could have been some sort of natural release of gases trapped at the bottom of the lake, which Webb had sort of suggested earlier. Such things have been reported in the past. Something might have dropped into it but no one saw that.
While interesting, there is little reason to suspect any sort of alien or extraterrestrial explanation here. Claiming it as a UFO sighting of some kind is a bit of a stretch. For us, that ends the tale. For others, well, good luck to them.