Published January 1, 2007, 9:48 AM CST
Call it a close encounter of the O'Hare kind.
Some airline workers reported seeing a mysterious, elliptical-shaped craft over O'Hare International Airport last fall but say their bosses and the government wouldn't take them seriously.
The Federal Aviation Administration has dismissed the reported Nov. 7 sighting by United Airlines employees as a likely weather phenomenon.
United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said there is no record of the UFO report and company officials don't recall discussing any such incident.
That doesn't sit well with the employees, who are upset that neither United nor the FAA investigated the incident.
A group of workers, including pilots, told the Chicago Tribune on condition of anonymity in remarks published Monday that they saw a dark gray, flying saucer-like object hover motionless in the sky above the United terminal around 4:30 p.m. that day.
After several minutes, the object -- described variously at 6 feet to 24 feet in diameter -- bolted noiselessly upward through thick clouds so powerfully that it left an eerie hole in the clouds.
The FAA acknowledged that a United supervisor called its air-traffic control tower at O'Hare, asking if controllers had spotted a spinning disc-shaped object. FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said no controllers saw it and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary.
"Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon," she said. "That night was a perfect atmospheric condition in terms of low (cloud) ceiling and a lot of airport lights. When the lights shine up into the clouds, sometimes you can see funny things."
Funny is just how some controllers in the tower view the incident.
"To fly 7 million light years to O'Hare and then have to turn around and go home because your gate was occupied is simply unacceptable," said O'Hare controller and union official Craig Burzych.