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Unexplained orange lights baffle community

Lynne Mowbray |

Residents in the lower river were left asking questions after bright orange lights (similar to orange street lights) appeared in evening sky last Thursday.

At around 5.50pm on Thursday July 18, a shopper who witnessed the mysterious lights was leaving the Coles supermarket at Yamba Fair when they spotted two stationery bright orange lights slightly above a two story building across the road.

The witness (who did not wish to be identified) said that they knew there wasn’t any other tall buildings around and could not explain what these stationery, bright orange lights were.

“I watched them for around five minutes; one light would disappear and then come back on then they both disappeared,” the witness said.

“I also spotted another orange light in the distance, towards Angourie,” they said.

Believing the lights were gone, the witness returned to their car in Treelands Drive and noticed that the lights had reappeared and were now positioned further north; in the direction of the Caltex service station.

The witness said that they drove up Treelands Drive and parked on the western side of Hakea Park and just as they got out of the car, two RAAF jets roared overhead heading east, with one banking and heading north.

“Over a period of five to 10 minutes other jets had joined in and I have never seen anything like this before – except maybe in the movies,” the witness said.

“The jets were going in every direction; it looked like they were scrambled with some circling and others criss-crossing the sky in every direction,” they said.

Within 10 minutes The Yamba Notice Board Facebook page had several comments from spectators, sharing what they had seen.

Another couple from Palmers Island said that they were first alerted to the orange lights by their dog, which was ‘going off his tree’.

The couple, who also wished to remain anonymous, told The Independent that they went outside to see what the dog was barking at and it was staring at the orange light.

“At first I thought that it was a planet,” the witness said.

“The orange ball was in an east-northeast direction and there were another three (orange lights) that were in a south-east direction, possibly around Angourie.

“The one to the north was probably three times the size of the other ones and a lot brighter. As we were watching the big one it just exploded into like embers. It was just like ‘poof’ and then nothing.

“At first we only saw one (RAAF) jet which looked like it was doing laps around Palmers Island.

“Over the 19 years that we have lived here, we’ve heard the RAAF jets when they have been doing their manoeuvres. They used to follow the river along.

“But I have never seen such erratic behaviour. They (the jets) were going in all directions; scrambled, as if they were looking for something,” she said.

The mysterious orange lights were also reported to have been seen by an Iluka resident, who witnessed two bright orange lights which disappeared and reappeared in a different position.

On Friday last week, The Independent contacted Defence Force Media for comment regarding the activity, with a spokesperson from The Department of Defence provided the following statement:

“At about 1800 local time, 18 July 19, Air Force fast jet aircraft were operating in the vicinity of the township of Yamba NSW whilst conducting missions within the Temporary Restricted Air Space for Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 19. The township of Yamba NSW is within Temporary Restricted Airspace (TRA) for Ex TS19. The TRA encompasses a large portion of the far north coastline of NSW.”

The Independent requested more information regarding “these unexplainable orange lights” and received a phone call from Defence Media on Monday afternoon.

The spokesperson suggested that the orange lights (she assumed) were to do with the lights on the fast jets involved in exercises around Yamba on Thursday night.

The Defence Media spokesperson suggested that The Independent put a ‘call out’ for photos or videos that any witnesses may have. See our Facebook page for more details: