Watch: Mysterious object spotted in the sky over Illinois town

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Police in an Illinois town are trying to identify a mysterious white or translucent object seen flying in the daytime sky.

Prophetstown Police Chief Bruce Franks said he was off-duty Wednesday when he received a call from an employee at Todd's Tire and Auto, where a crowd had gathered to watch a mysterious object in the sky.

Witnesses described the object as a white or translucent balloon attached to a box structure and what some onlookers said appeared to be red lighting.

Franks said the object was stationary in the sky for some time.

Officer Boyd Van Dellen said police are still trying to identify the object, but they do not believe it originated from space -- or from China.

The National Weather Service said it had not launched any balloons in the area recently. Van Dellen said the organization suggested it might be a research balloon launched by another entity.

He said the local airport was notified of the object in case it posed a hazard for local air traffic.

A number of teardrop-shaped balloons previously sparked speculation of foreign surveillance or UFO activity over Phoenix in early April, but the objects were later identified as Thunderhead weather balloons operated by company Aerostar.