PENDLETON, Ore., June 26 -- (U.P.)-- Residents of Pendleton sought an explanation today for the nine strange "saucer-shaped" planes an amateur pilot claimed he saw flying at an estimated speed of 1,200 miles an hour across southwestern Washington.
The story was told by Kenneth Arnold, flying fire extinguisher salesman from Boise, Ida.
He landed here, slightly bug-eyed, Wednesday and told how he spotted the "extremely shiny nickle-plated aircraft" skimming along at 10,000 feet on Tuesday. Arnold was on a search for a missing Marine corps plane at the time.
"They were shaped like saucers and were so thin I could barely see them," he told Jack Whitman, a local businessman.
"There were nine of them and they were flying in a screwy formation about 25 miles away from me. It wasn't any military formation I ever saw before.
"I figure they were moving about 1,200 miles per hour because I clocked them with a stop watch during the time it took them to fly from Mount Rainer to Mount Adams. That's 42 miles and they made it in one minute 42 seconds -- about 1,205 mph."
Arnold said the strange aircraft were skittering across the southwest slope of Mount Rainier when he first sighted them.
Whitman suggested tactfully, that Arnold had been seeing things but the pilot insisted, "I must be believe my eyes."
There was no comment from military authorities on Arnold's story.