CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte man posted a video on YouTube of what he believes to be a UFO sighting in Charlotte. The viral video was shot outside of the Le Meridien hotel in uptown Charlotte.
In the video, you can see a large number of flashing lights. Chris Hulbert, who posted the video, says he’s a professional driver and was waiting outside the hotel’s parking lot when he spotted the lights and grabbed his cellphone.
“So whatever they are, they’re moving around like fireflies but they’re really high up in the air,” Hulbert could be heard saying in the video.
He described them as moving very strangely and resembling strobe lights, saying the lights seemed to be moving and later formed a pattern.
“Now it’s making a triangle like it’s an actual geometric form when before it was just moving around,” said Hulbert.
Since being posted on October 15, the video has been viewed more than 420,000 times.
"We are intrigued by them because we cannot explain them,” said Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center.
He says he’s been tracking UFOs for more than 22 years, but he says within the last 53 months sightings in the Carolina skies, especially in South Carolina have been growing.
“In that amount of time I think we probably received 30- to 40,000 reports of sightings similar to what you saw over your city there,” said Davenport.
In an email to NBC Charlotte, the Federal Aviation Administration says there were “no reports of UFOs, blinking lights, or any other unusual phenomenon on October 15 or 16.”
So what were they? Davenport says even he can’t say, but he knows what they weren’t.
“They’re not crash dummies, they’re not swamp gas, they’re not weather balloons-- as near as I can tell so there’s something unusual,” said Davenport.
Something else they weren’t? Drones.
“It wouldn’t have looked like that and the lights would have been different and they would have been flashing red and green to alert other aircraft,” said Bretten Smith, co-founder or UAV Charlotte, a company which builds, designs and operates drones for commercial purposes.
He said while drones could be mistaken for UFOs, he says the lights in the video appeared too high to be drones and said their movement wasn’t characteristic of them. Instead, he believes the lights in the sky could be that of LED balloons.
“I’m pretty positive they were LED balloons lit off by a wedding-- that’d be my best guess,” said Smith. “It looks, you know, kind of different if you’ve never seen it. If you see 30 balloons all going in different directions it can look like a UFO but I think that’s what it was,” he said.