It's a scary tale worthy of Halloween, only it looks like the spooks in this story might work for the government. The I-Team has been telling you about the strange object that crashed near the Colorado River back in May and was quickly scooped up by helicopters.
Residents say that after the choppers came the Men in Black.
The mystery surrounding the object that fell from the sky is pretty juicy by itself. But the stories the I-Team has been hearing about the X-Men agents in their spooky vehicles takes the tale to a whole different level.
"Everyone that knows me knows I'm crazy," said Bob. A lot of people have been searching for Bob on the River. His occasional home at the Topock Marina is easy to miss, tucked away as it is off the road and under a bridge.
When the story of the Needles UFO crash went national, Bob went underground, trying to avoid the UFO hunters who wanted him to lead them to the point of impact.
One the night before a network TV crew was to arrive, a large wildfire erupted and forced the evacuation of the marina. Bob wondered if someone was trying to wipe out clues at the presumed crash site, but this isn't where the UFO hit the ground.
"This is the position, approximately where I was that night," he said.
The I-Team rode along as Houseboat Bob made his first return to the scene, approximately five miles up river from Topock. Pinpointing the exact spot is difficult because he had been floating downriver for a few hours in the middle of the night when it happened.
"I saw this bright turquoise, blue-green flame coming directly down out of the sky," he said.
Within minutes, helicopters arrived and hauled the object away.
The FAA said it does not retain records of what might have been in the air over the river, but the I-Team obtained a single transponder reading from the morning of May 14, 2008, confirming the presence of at least one military chopper.
We also found a detachment of the special ops group known as the Night Stalkers at the Henderson Airport during the same time frame. But it isn't the helicopters that have spooked Bob and other residents of the area, it's the X-Men.
"There have been some strange people in town," said Paul Fix.
KTOX radio station employee Paul Fix saw the mystery men and their blacked out vehicles in Neddles the morning after the UFO crash.
"There was a truck down here at the end of the street, pretty much pointing at a tower behind the station. It was four-wheel-drive with a shell on the back that had radar domes. One of the guys sitting there with the sunglasses on, very stiff looking and he watched me as I went past," he said.
Radio station owner Dave Hayes saw the vehicles, and the men inside, on his way to work the morning of the crash and outside his station right after Bob on the River called in to report what he had seen.
Other listeners started reporting their own sightings of the X-Men.
"The fact there were people here the next day, it was almost like they were doing some sort of cleanup," said Hayes.
"I was there when the phone call came in from River Bob." Political organizer Toni Fagan had a face to face with the mystery men. The day after Bob called the radio station, Fagan was grilled by a stranger who showed up at one of her meetings.
"This gentleman came over and shook hands and said his name was Phil and that I was at the radio station when all the calls were coming in about River Bob and did I know what had hit the water, did I know how big it was, what color it was, and he got very frustrated when I said I wasn't really paying attention," she said.
The visitor had told Toni he wanted to join the party, but after the meeting, quizzed her again about the UFO, "This guy was very crisp, kind of a military like haircut, just way too clean cut for our group."
Is it possible the government might send agents to ask questions about, say, a secret project that got out of bounds? Yes says former Intelligence Colonel John Alexander, "If you are in counter intelligence and you want to protect our technology, asking questions of people like, ‘What did you see?' gives them a pretty good feel for how much protection. ‘Do we have to go and clean this up or do we need a cover story?'"
If anyone has come looking for the crash site itself, they would need Pentagon-worthy equipment to find it. With Bob's help, the I-Team narrowed down the search to a small area, but did not find the spot.
The river bank is a thick, nearly impenetrable forest of salt cedar. Figuring out what it was is still a tall order. At one point, there probably was a big crater or burn marks. But the crash happened in May and the I-Team started looking in July.
There have been big storms down there and months of vegetative growth by the salt cedars. You could literally hide a small army out there in the bushes.
"I'd sure like to know. I thought it was a plane crash," he said.
"Not anymore?" asked Knapp.
"No sir," he said.
Knapp and Photojournalist Matt Adams took several trips to the Needles area to look for the alleged Men in Black - and they found them. Sure enough, the vehicles look just as the eyewitnesses described them. So do the men inside.
The pair had a roadside encounter that got very interesting in a heartbeat and they learned these guys really do work for a secretive government agency that you've never heard of.
The I-Team is working on that story and will be back next week to tell you what they found.
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