North Korea missile? UFO? International media sensationalize Guam fireball

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Although no conclusive statement has been issued by local authorities on whether the Friday night fireball was a meteor or not, Guam Homeland Security is saying that the lights were most likely debris from a Chinese commercial rocket that was launched that same night. (Viewer contributed photo)

The fireball that blazed through Guam’s skies Friday night captured the attention of not only island residents, but the international media as well.

The New York Post, in its trademark tabloid style, headlined the story “Fireball over Guam mistaken for North Korean missile, UFO.” The lead was just as breathless: “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s North Korea’s Christmas “surprise”!

In the same story, the Post also reported that on Thursday, soldiers ran for cover at the US military base in South Korea that is closest to North Korea after an emergency air raid siren was mistakenly played instead of taps.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the British Daily Mail news outlet also reported on the Guam fireball, leading its story with: “A ‘meteor’ breaking up over the island of Guam has alarmed locals who feared it was a ‘gift’ from China or Kim Jong-Un’s ‘Christmas surprise’.

The Daily Mail also quoted PNC’s interview with NWS meteorologist Patrick Chan, who described the fireball as a meteor breaking up.

“Based on the distance of the sky it probably landed somewhere in the ocean in small pieces,” Chan said.

Not to be outdone, Russian media outlet RT also had a click-baiting headline which read “Meteor? UFO? Kim’s Christmas gift? WATCH mysterious fireball blaze through night sky in Guam!”

“While a UFO theory predictably cropped up among the believers, most observers agree it was either a meteor or a piece of space junk – most likely a Chinese booster re-entering the atmosphere following the Long March 5 rocket launch earlier in the day,” RT stated in its story.

“Some, however, reportedly panicked, thinking it could be a missile from North Korea, as its cryptic warning to the US about a ‘Christmas gift’ has yet to materialize,” RT added.

Although no conclusive statement has been issued by local authorities on whether the Friday night fireball was a meteor or not, Guam Homeland Security is saying that the lights were most likely debris from a Chinese commercial rocket.

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