Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mystery Missile Launch

LOS ANGELES — A mysterious "missile" streaked across the sky off the Southern California coast Monday night and was caught on video by a local TV station's helicopter camera.

KCBS reported the trail was visible from Los Angeles. The station's helicopter crew described the missile's location as 35 miles out to sea north of Catalina Island.

Senior Pentagon and Navy officials told NBC News that they did not know who launched the missile.

A senior official told NBC News it was "possible" that the incident was an accidental launch by the military. However, the Navy, Air Force and Missile Defense Agency said they had no information to indicate they were involved, NBC News reported.

Military officials told said that a planned military exercise would not have been held that close to Los Angeles.

Officials were also examining the possibility it was a "commercial launch of some kind" or that amateurs had built a device capable of creating such a plume, NBC News reported.

A Navy spokesman told local CBS station KFMB that there was no Navy activity reported in that region Monday night, and that it was not the Navy's missile.

KCBS, which originally reported the incident, asked Robert Ellsworth, a former deputy secretary of defense and ambassador to NATO, about the mystery missile.

"It could be a test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from a submarine to demonstrate, mainly to Asia, that we can do that," he told the TV station, emphasizing that he was purely speculating.


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