Pan Am Airlines Flight 257 from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico, had a brush with the unknown.
At 4:30 a.m., while passengers slept or engaged in quiet conversation with each other, the pilot, Captain Matthew Van Winkle, was forced to make a violent evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with a strange bolide that was heading right toward the airliner.
Passengers and flight attendants, except for those who had wisely never unfastened their seatbelts, flew out of their seats and crashed into the bulkheads.
According to reports, the pilot had seen an object described as having a shiny greenish core and an outer ring that reflected the inner glow.
Frantically executing an evasive maneuver, Van Winkle climbed 1500' above the object in a matter of seconds. According to San Juan’s El Mundo newspaper, Van Winkle’s initial impression was that he was seeing the burning exhaust gases of a rocket airplane, followed by a glowing light.
Pilots from other airlines 200 to 300 miles away, flying the same route toward Puerto Rico, reportedly saw the same object.
John Walsh, a pilot with TransCaribbean Airways, very much doubted that he’d seen a meteorite.