Passenger observations

One or both UAPs were seen by several (possibly as many as nine) passengers on board the Trislander. The flight deck area is not enclosed, but forward visibility from passenger seats further back is limited by other passengers, the high instrument fascia, windscreen frames and the pilot himself.

A single male passenger seated immediately behind Capt Bowyer was able to see both objects, with the naked eye and with the use of Capt Bowyer's binoculars, and a couple seated in the next row also witnessed all or part of the event. But these witnesses have so far declined to be identified.

Another couple was seated three rows back, John and Kate Russell from Alderney. John Russell's view was the more restricted but by leaning across his wife's seat he could see one of the objects through the cockpit windscreen, describing it as "an elongated oval" or "lozenge-shaped" and "brilliant orange" brighter than any reflection of the sun could be. He stated that he thought this object moved a little to the West (right) during the time it was visible.

Kate Russell had the better view. She was diverted from her book by noticing that the pilot had turned to talk with the passenger immediately behind him - something she had never seen happen before - and both appeared to be looking at something. This went on for a while and more passengers began to react n1Capt Bowyer states that he did not himself draw his passengers' attention to the objects. They spotted them independently., but still nothing was visible from her position until the pilot dropped the nose of the plane at the start of the descent. The radio transcript (Section 2) and Jersey radar plot (Section 3) indicate that this was at very shortly after 1415. Soon after this time she was able to see two very bright "cigar"-shaped lights ahead of the plane, one larger than the other but both "sunlight coloured".

They were below the horizon (Capt Bowyer's report mentions that the UAPs had reached a maximum depression angle of -2° just before this point in the flight). She thought initially that one object (the small one) was above Alderney n2At first sight this is in conflict with Capt Bowyer's observation that sightlines to both objects were to the right of the flight track. Alderney was at this time to the left of the flight track. The explanation for this is discussed in Section 3., the other over the sea, seeming larger and nearer. After a short while she lost sight of them as the plane's nose came up briefly. Then as the nose dipped again in the continued descent towards Alderney they reappeared. This time the yellow hue of the lights was more distinct, but she disputed her husband's description of an "orange" colour (claiming that John was colour-blind!) although the word "orange" was also used by Capt Bowyer.

Both witnesses disputed Capt Bowyer's later public opinion (based on a revised impression of range) that the objects might have been thousands of feet across. Kate had no definite impression of size, but felt that they were "nothing like as large", the nearest seeming to be perhaps 10 miles away, between the plane and Alderney. John had the impression that the object he saw might have been smaller than the Channel merchant vessels they saw during the flight. In other words, their visual judgments at the time were not dissimilar to Capt. Bowyer's.

(see Appendix B)