The Anchorage Air Traffic Control was doing their best to find out what JAL 1628 was seeing. The fact that the cockpit was immersed in light was enough to declare an emergency. Later after the incident, Terauchi spoke in length about Traffic Control's queries.
"They kept asking us about cloud in the immediate area," he stated. As a matter of fact Control asked him several times about clouds; could this have been their explanation for was causing the appearance of the lights? Could clouds be reflecting light to the point that the crew was being fooled by something so simple?
Terauchi told Control that they could see spotty and thin clouds near a distant mountain, but this was far below the plane, and could not have been the source of the lights. There were no clouds to be seen anywhere near the altitude of the 1628.
After the conversation on the clouds ended, the two UFOs quickly flew away to the left. Later, Terauchi talked about attempting to find the objects on radar.
"There was a pale, white flat light in the direction where the ships flew away, moving in a line along with us, in the same direction and same speed and at the same altitude as we were."
"I thought it would be impossible to find anything on aircraft radar; if a large ground radar did not show anything, but I judged the distance of the object visually and it was not very far."
"I set the digital weather radar distance to 20 (nautical) miles, radar angle to horizon; there it was on the screen."
"... a large green and round object had appeared at 7 or 8 miles (13 km to 15 km) away, where the direction of the object was. We reported to Anchorage center that our radar caught the object within 7 or 8 miles in the 10 o'clock position. We asked them if they could catch it on ground radar, but it did not seem they could catch it at all."
Unknown Source Found
The Elmendorf Regional Operational Control Center began searching their radar to see if they could spot any uncorrelated target. After a couple of minutes, they too picked something up; they described it as some "surge primary return." This means that they were picking up occasional radar echo returns which were not accompanied by a transponder signal.
Finally the JAL 1628 came near to Fairbanks. Terauchi would later explain what happened.
"The lights (of the city) were extremely bright to our eyes that were used to the dark. We were just above the bright city lights and we checked the pale white light behind us."
"Alas! There was a silhouette of a gigantic spaceship. We must run away quickly!"
The Anchorage Center responded: "The JAL 1628 is requesting a change of course to right 45 degrees."
Terauchi said of this: "It felt like a long time before we received permission."
The plane turned to the right, and the AARTCC controller called the Fairbanks Approach Radar controller to find out whether or not the short-range radar had a target near the JAL. The approach radar reported no target other than JAL1628. As the plane left the turn and flew toward Talkeetna at an altitude of 31,000 ft. They could still see the UFOs.
Planes Sent to Investigate
Several attempts were made to send other planes to the area where the JAL 1628 was to see if they too could see the anomaly; a United Airlines passenger jet at 5:40, and a military TOTEM flight at 5:51. Neither could see the objects.
The FAA and others conducted an investigation, but did not issue their final report until March 5. Several theories were offered for what 1628 saw. Among them were:
CSICOP offered the explanation that light reflecting off of clouds of ice crystals had caused the sighting. This is highly unlikely because the sky was clear at the reported altitude of the UFO.
The FAA made this claim: the radar images received by ground radar were caused by a "split radar return from the JAL Boeing 747. This, of course, has nothing to do with what the crew saw.