The Journal of Hispanic Ufology
February 20th 2012
[Researcher Alfonso Ferrer has just reminded us of another – and more spectacular – case involving the Canary Islands and the Spanish Sahara. Our readers will remember the review of his book “El Reloj del Fin del Mundo” that we presented in INEXPLICATA in 2009 – S. Corrales]
An Extraordinary Aerial Encounter in the Canary Islands
By Alfonso Ferrer –http://alfonferrer.blogspot.com/2009/10/insolito-encuentro-aereo-en-canarias.html
Date: 3 October 2009
It was the year 1968. On a springtime evening, a Fokker aircraft belonging to the IBERIA airline flew its routine service from Las Palmas (Canary Islands) to Villa Cisneros in the Western Sahara. The flight was proceeding normally until the aircraft, within sight of its destination, found itself escorted by a light of unknown origin. When the Fokker commenced its approach maneuvers and descended, the unidentified light shot off into the sky. But the story doesn’t end here.
Veteran pilot Paco Andreu, a member of the Fokker’s crew along with Cmdr. Ciudad on that March 14th, 41 years ago, told us about his experiences on the return flight to Las Palmas, in which the UFO made a repeat appearance. This is a unique account, provided by an expert aviator who has an encounter with an unidentified light/object in the air. It is doubly interesting by the fact that the sighting occurred in mid-air (the same medium occupied by the UFO). Moreover, these are the words of an expert who is clearly able to distinguish between an airplane and a star, without this inferring that airliner pilots are infallible in their observations, or not immune to error. They are human beings, like everyone lese. Furthermore, Andreu’s words have the virtue of having remain unchanged over time. He contributes no elements that might suggest a mystical reading of the event on his part. The story is told in a sober and dispassionate manner. A sincere, objective and highly interesting report.
[The entire interview (in Spanish) can be heard on the Cronicas del Misterio podcast at http://www.ivoox.com/encuentro-aereo-ovni-tumba-abierta-audios-mp3_rf_130022_1.html - we are taking the liberty of transcribing only a few items of Paco Andreu’s experiences - SC]
Interviewer: So tell us what happened that day.
Paco Andreu: Well, let’s start. It was March 14 1968, I was a pilot for Spantax at the time, for some 7 months as a co-pilot, and the flight was from Las Palmas to Villa Cisneros. The entire flight went without incident until we reached the vicinity of Villa. Then we were about to start our descent, and looking to our left we saw a light descending at the same angle of descent as our plane, matching our speed. At that time I remarked to the commander if he wanted me to ask Villa Cisneros Tower of the traffic we had in sight. We thought it was another plane. So we contacted Villa Cisneros and told them that to our left we had some traffic, and could we please receive some information about it. A few seconds went by, and Villa Cisneros answered that there was no traffic reported in that area. We were startled, and immediately following, the light that descended with us at an angle that was perhaps 5-10 degrees, ascended at a 60-80 degree angle and took off with an emanation, losing itself in infinity. There were no clouds, it was a very clear night, and it became lost from sight. In the meantime, we exchanged glances and said “let’s cut the maneuvers and land immediately for the safety of our passengers and our own.” So we landed with short traffic, landed and upon descending we remarked the situation with the personnel of Iberia, because the flight was for Iberia. So we discussed it with the Iberia field officer, and then with a military doctor from the legion, who was a big fan of astronomy. We discussed all we’d seen, and they were left between belief and disbelief. They joked with us and such, but time went by, the layover had ended, passengers boarded the plane for the return trip. We got going. We rolled toward the end of the runway, lined up for takeoff, requested authorization from the tower, received it, and we took off. And it only...within not even a minute of being airborne, we got a call from the tower telling us [...]: “Iberia 372, you have a light to your right.” we looked, and the light that had accompanied during descent was back again. I replied: “Yes, yes, affirmative, we have a light flying beside us.” They said: “Could you advise us if this could compromise flight safety?” We said: “Well, for the time being, if it holds its position, no, it’s not affecting us.” “Well, for your information, I can tell you that as you rolled down the runway, the light passed over the airport, flying very low and giving off blue and red flashes.” [The object] the stopped over a barracks that belonged to the legion, as I recall it was the Tercio Juan de Austria. It remained static. They watched the object from the airport with binoculars, consulted with the doctor who was an astronomy fan, and they all said that it was nothing known at the time, because as it flew low over the airport, it made no engine sound. It was silent. It remained static, we took off, and when we passed its altitude, it started to follow us, climbing at our same rate of speed, much like it did during our descent. We checked our nav and radio equipment and everything was ok, it wasn’t affecting us. So the tower insisted that if that thing jeopardized flight safety, we should inform them at all times. And so we did. Once we reached cruising altitude – some 5000 meters or 15,000 feet – the object stayed with us, but started to wobble at that time, being at the very same altitude as we were. At times it would get above us, and on others it would remain below us, before climbing and staying with us. After a while it repeated it. This, of course, left us stunned, because no airplane or object known to us could do it. There was no effect of gravity or anything. So we kept flying and began our flight – about an 1 ½ hour went by – our ETA for Las Palmas was around 10 pm, we advised the control, and...well, when we began our descent toward Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, we had stratiform clouds near the island, so we descended through the clouds and started to question whether we were mistaking the light of the UFO with the stars, because it could no longer be seen clearly. And we landed. And once the passengers had debarked, we found that the press was at the airport.
Interviewer: So the story had become known, and the media had learned of it through some leak.
Paco Andreu: We can suppose that some member of the control center at Las Palmas had a buddy or friend who worked for a newsroom and called them, telling them that a flight was coming in from Villa Cisneros followed by a strange gadget.
Other voice: Paco, this is Jorge. What was the size of the light? Could you give us more details?
Paco Andreu: Well, how could I best describe it...it was a source of light like an airplane beacon that is about to land, a strong light, but it wasn’t a projected light. it was like a luminous sphere.
Interviewer: Because when it came to reckoning distance...
Paco Andreu: Of course, it was very complicated. We, on our right, headed for Gran Canaria, we had the shore and the desert. Without towns or lights or anything that could give us a distance calculation, I don’t know, it could have been 2-3 miles away by our calculations, but it could have been 50 miles away, because it may have been a gigantic thing, but distance made it seem small.
Interviewer: Paco, this truly interesting, perhaps one of the most interesting ones I can think of as UFO sightings go, especially coming from an expert aviator like yourself. Did you dismiss the possibility that it was a military maneuver? You mention the presence of a military base nearby.
Paco Andreu: You can figure that in the year 1968 military maneuvers in the desert were few. The known military craft at the time had bases in Gran Canarias and in El Aaiun, were Junkers transport aircraft, a plane from 1934-35, so it was impossible that it could make such maneuvers. And then, the only thing it could have been...there were no helicopters yet...or yes, there was a helicopter unit at Los Rodeos, but they were there for evacuation service and emergency purposes only, so the Sahara region may have had piston driven T-6 aircraft but nothing resembling what we saw.
Interviewer: We discussed the likelihood that it could have been a star.
Paco Andreu: No, no, never. A star we don’t see...a star we see above us, like you do from the ground. But we’d sometimes see it below us. It couldn’t be a star. Nor was it a comet. We’ve seen an infinite number of comets in flight, and we know their trajectory and patterns. There’s something else there. Don’t know if its manned, unmanned or guided automatically at a distance. no idea. There could be many conjectures about it. But the fact is that what we saw was that. And the truth is that I never forgot it, despite the years that have gone by.
(Translation & transcription (c) 2012, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Alfonso Ferrer)
[A photo of Alfonso Ferrer and Paco Andreu can be found at http://inexplicata.blogspot.com/2012/02/another-ufo-encounter-in-spanish-sahara.html]
UFOINFO would like to thank Scott Corrales Inexplicata Blog for granting permission to use this article.
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