No one seems to know where mysterious missile launched near L.A. came from

Brett Michael Dykes
November 9, 2010

Nothing like an unexplained missile launch to ruin a perfectly good coastal sunset.

That was the unsettling reflection that many residents in the Los Angeles area were forced to entertain Monday evening as they gazed out over the ocean and into the storied Southern California sky. All at once, the vista was disrupted by a large missile streaming across the horizon. Nor were area residents especially comforted when they consulted local news outlets about the episode, only to learn that no one seemed to know to whom the missile belonged.

A KCBS traffic helicopter captured the projectile on camera last night, but the Navy and Air Force claimed to know nothing of any planned launch when contacted by KFMB, a CBS affiliate in San Diego.

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"We put in a lot of calls to the Navy and Air Force tonight," the station's Marcella Lee said. "But so far, no one seems to know anything about this launch."

"It's spectacular. It takes people's breath away," former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Ellsworth told the station after viewing the video. Ellsworth could offer little in the way of speculation about the projectile's origins, beyond supposing that it looked to be an American show of force, but he did classify it as "a big missile." Various reports say that the missile was launched roughly 35 miles out to sea, west of L.A. and north of Catalina Island.

You can watch the KFMB report below:

The Defense Department so far seems caught as off-guard by the episode as everyone else; a spokesman for the Pentagon told reporters that the whole incident is, at this point, completely "unexplained." Meanwhile, NBC's Jim Miklaszewski — the network's Pentagon correspondent — reported today that missile launches are rarely done in the vicinity of large metropolitan areas. And if military leaders had planned a missile launch, they would have given area residents plenty of advance notice.

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Earlier today, officials from the North American Aerospace Defense Command issued a statement saying that the missile posed "no indication of any threat to our nation," adding that "from all indications this was not a launch by a foreign military."

Fox News asked around at all the local Air Force bases as well as the FAA and got the same basic response. You can watch Steve Centanni's report here:

So, yeah, there you have it: Nothing to see here, folks.

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