ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico -- It was supposed to be a normal flight to Phoenix, but then over the skies of New Mexico - an American Airlines encountered an unidentified flying object.
"We just had something go right over the top of us that, I hate to say this, looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing moving really fast right over the top of us," he said.
The Feb. 21 incident involving American Flight 2292, at approximately 37,000 feet over northeastern New Mexico, has captured a lot of attention - from federal authorities to UFO researchers across the globe.
The FBI sent ABC affiliate KOAT a statement this week that says: "While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public."
The Federal Aviation Administration previously confirmed the encounter, saying in a statement that, "A pilot reported seeing an object over New Mexico shortly after noon local time on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. FAA air traffic controllers did not see any object in the area on their radarscopes."
Of course, people who are passionate about UFOs are weighing in.
"Whatever it was these two pilots saw on Sunday, February 21, 2021, at about 1:19 p.m., 12:15 Mountain (time) is unknown, truly unknown," Linda Moulton Howe said.
She is a filmmaker, author and woman who researches UFOs. She says she does not believe what the pilots saw was a missile.
"It wouldn't be operational," she said.
New Mexico is indeed home to White Sands Missile Range, the sprawling stretch of desert where the U.S. military has long tested everything from nuclear weapons to V-2 rockets. But White Sands is approximately 400 miles away from the site of the February encounter west of Clayton, New Mexico.
And Scott Stearns, the chief of public affairs at White Sands, said the missile range wasn’t testing anything at the time of the encounter. "We have no idea what it could have been or if anything similar has been sighted in that area before," he said.