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Local musician Mark Emmins said he noticed a white object in the sky over Exmouth Devon, at about 1pm, but it was still there more than three hours later, with a long trail, when a deep-red sunset started.
He said as he watched it with neighbour Tyron Osborn, who at first thought it was a comet, it began coming towards them.
Mr Emmins, 53, said: “My neighbour had asked ‘have you seen the comet?’
“All of sudden it began moving towards us coming from Dawlish towards Exmouth, which took about two minutes.”
He also claimed the object moved when six nearby white dots were also visible in the sky.
He added: “It was leaving behind a trail and at the front of the object was a big bright light which went a dark colour as it neared.
“Then it just disappeared, vanished without a trace. There was absolutely nothing left behind.”
Mr Emmins claimed to be left dumbfounded, saying he did not think it was a plane because the contrail did not remain afterwards.
He said: “I have no idea what it was, we have been baffled.
“It wasn’t scary, but after seeing it move across the sky we were left thinking what on earth have we just seen? This was a ‘wow’.”
UFO investigators had mixed views about the sighting.
Scott Brando runs hoax-busting website ufoofinterest.org and claims there has never been any inexplicable UFO picture taken.
Mr Brando told Express.co.uk the clue was in the sunset.
He explained it was just a standard aeroplane leaving a contrail, which was backlit by the setting sun, giving the glowing impression.
He also provided other similar images of planes with such glowing contrails during sunsets.
He said: “A mysterious fiery UFO? NO, we are just seeing contrails at sunset like these.”
But, Nigel Watson, author of the UFO Investigations Manual, from Devon, said it was worthy of more consideration.
He said: “The basic problem is that if a UFO photograph is taken in daylight and looks close, clear and sharp, you suspect it is a fake, and if it is out-of-focus, distant and hard to define, then it can be a picture of anything in the sky – from a bird to a balloon.
“In this case the pictures seem consistent with the witness descriptions, and the length of the sighting suggests it wasn’t an aircraft or drone.”