San Diego

Witnesses Report Seeing Bright Light Across Southern California Sky

Viewers across California and parts of the West Coast reported seeing a strange, large flash of light across the Pacific Ocean Saturday night as the U.S. Navy was conducting a missile test.

Many viewers called NBC San Diego, NBC Southern California and NBC Bay Area reporting a green and blue colored streak of bright light through the sky, reported as far south as Mexico and as far north as the Bay Area. Some viewers even reported seeing it in Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. 

"It was really slow and then exploded really gray and there was some blue lights it just looked really weird," Sokhom Thoeun, who was walking on a San Diego beach with his family, told NBC7.

"I'm like it's not a firework, it's not a falling star, it's not the moon... I don't know what it was... but it was the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life," said witness Jessica Blecker.

Cmdr. Ryan Perry with the Navy's Third Fleet said the Navy Strategic Systems Programs conducted a scheduled Trident II (D5) missile test flight at sea from USS Kentucky, causing the bright light.

Read the Navy's full statement below: 

"Navy Strategic Systems Programs conducted scheduled Trident II (D5) missile test flight at sea from USS Kentucky, an Ohio Class SSBN, in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California. The tests were part of a scheduled, ongoing system evaluation test. Launches are conducted on a frequent, recurring basis to ensure the continued reliability of the system. Each test activity provides valuable information about our systems, thus contributing to assurance in our capabilities.

The missile was not armed. Strategic Systems Programs does not routinely announce missile testing. Information regarding the test launch of Trident II (D5) missiles is classified before the launch."

Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles confirmed through the U.S. Navy at Point Mugu that the light was a missile test. However, the location of where the missile was fired has not been disclosed, Capt. Jonathon S. Spaner, commander of Sector San Diego and San Diego Captain of the Port, told NBC7's Bridget Naso

The Coast Guard sector said it spoke with the Department of Defense and confirmed it was a missile test. The Orange County Sheriff's Department tweeted the bright lights were the result of a Naval test fire off the coast. 

Los Angeles International Airport officials warned residents earlier that overnight air traffic patterns would be altered Saturday and continuing into next week because of activity from a nearby military base.

LAX officials said it would deviate from its "Over-Ocean Operations" that are typically in effect from midnight to 6:30 a.m. During those hours, incoming flights normally land at LAX from over the
ocean to reduce noise for residents living east of the airport.

"Due to the military airspace activity, however, incoming flights will use the overland westerly route when approaching the airport," according to LAWA.

Outbound flights will continue to take off to the west, over the ocean. The change in overnight operations will continue through Nov. 12, according to LAWA.

The lights prompted a flood of phone calls and police called news outlets to tell them to tell residents not to panic because 911 was inundated with reports. 

NBC 7 continues to investigate the bright light. Did you see the light? If so, tell us where you were below in the comments thread. 

Contact Us