The Liberty County Sheriff's Department is investigating a reported UFO sighting on Saturday night.
Authorities said a dispatcher received a call from a concerned citizen at 8:27 p.m. The citizen reported seeing "red fire balls in the sky" traveling in a south-west direction from the area of Daisetta in East Liberty County.
Two deputies responded to the call at 8:31p.m. and said they observed four orange-colored lights traveling in the reported direction at an estimated altitude of 3000 feet. There were at least 10 to 12 other citizens on the scene that were observing the same sightings, deputies said.
The deputies reported the lights were in a "loose line" that appeared to be about 10 miles apart from the front light to the last light in the line and moving rather slowly. The deputies utilized a spotting scope to observe the objects, which appeared to be balloons with a fire located beneath them. Authorities said the objects looked similar to a hot air balloon, but didn't have a gondola or basket below the balloon-shaped objects. The fire was said to gave the objects a bright orange glow.
After a few seconds, three of the objects disappeared and shortly thereafter the fourth one disappeared, deputies said.
As quickly as the last of the four lights disappeared, eight to 10 other orange objects appeared in about the same location, began traveling in the same direction, and formed the same loose line as before.
The entire viewing after the deputies' arrival lasted about a minute and a half before the remaining eight to 10 objects also disappeared. The deputies said they thought it was possible the objects went behind clouds and were no longer visible.
In search of an explanation, the department made several calls to various agencies.
The Houston office of the FAA was contacted, but they were unable to shed any light on the sighting. They referred the department spokesman to Houston Tracon, who also had no reports or information.
The Regional Operations Center in Ft. Worth was contacted and their report was also negative. They suggested contacting the National Weather Bureau for any weather balloons they may have launched and this was done with negative results as well.
The Houston Weather Bureau reported they release two weather balloons per day, but the time, location and large number of balloons reported is not consistent with their work.
Deputies said the wind direction at 3000' was reported to be from the north, which would make any balloon-type object drift in a south-west direction. The cloud level was reported to be at 1,600 feet over the Liberty County area at the time of evening the "fire balls" were reported, which could explain their disappearance.
The department said they contacted the UFO National Reporting Center in Spokane, Washington, which was recommended to them. The department said they were advised that similar sightings in Florida had been reported last week and could possibly be what is described as "sky lanterns" that are released during various celebrations. However, even these "sky lanterns" are usually not released in such large numbers as was reported in this incident, deputies said.
Anyone with information about the reported sighting and source of the objects is asked to contact the sheriff's department at (936) 336-4500. Names of reporting individuals will be kept confidential, deputies said.