Shuttle: Texas residents report seeing trails in sky and hearing loud noises


Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 10:13 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 10:13 a.m.

DALLAS (AP) - Residents of north Texas heard "a big bang" Saturday about the time the space shuttle Columbia disappeared on its way to a landing at Cape Canaveral.

"It was like a car hitting the house or an explosion. It shook that much," said John Ferolito, 60, of Carrolton, north of Dallas.

NASA declared an emergency after losing communication with Columbia as the ship soared across Texas at an altitude of about 200,000 feet, while traveling at six times the speed of sound. The space agency said search and rescue teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were alerted.

Gary Hunziker in Plano said he saw the shuttle flying overhead. "I could see two bright objects flying off each side of it," he told The Associated Press. "I just assumed they were chase jets."

"I was getting read to go out and I heard a big bang and the windows shook in the house," Ferolito told The AP. "I was getting ready to go out and I heard a big bang and the windows shook in the house. I thought it was a sonic boom."

Bob Multer of Palestine, Texas, told CNN he saw what looked like a high-flying jet and heard a noise.

"It would be very similar to a tornado, it was very loud and intense," Multer said. "It was loud enough and it was low enough that it shook the building."

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