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What Caused This Red Glow Over the Pacific Ocean?

The pilot and co-pilot of a Boeing 747-8 flying from Hong Kong to Anchorage, Alaska, were passing near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka when they observed a fiery reddish glow over the Pacific. With no other planes in the area at the time to confirm the sighting, they took pictures of and reported to Air Traffic Control, then completed the flight to Anchorage. So … what was it?


On August 24, 2014, Dutch pilot and photographer JPC van Heijst was five hours into the ten hour flight when he spotted a single intense bolt of light shoot vertically into the air. There were no other flashes or storms in the area or on their radar. Twenty minutes later, he saw the red glow. Having heard reports of earthquakes in California, Chile and Iceland, he checked for quakes or volcanic activity on the route but saw no alerts. Despite that, van Heijst later wrote on that he suspected it was an underwater volcano.


“The closer we got, the more intense the glow became, illuminating the clouds and sky below us in a scary orange glow, in a part of the world where there was supposed to be nothing but water. The only cause of this red glow that we could think of, was the explosion of a huge volcano just underneath the surface of the ocean, about 30 minutes before we overflew that exact position.”

Sounds plausible, although van Heijst saw no ash plume as they continued to Alaska


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