TWO FIGHTER PLANES LOST OFF COAST OF JAPAN
On Tuesday, August 25, 1998, at about 6:30 p.m., three Mitsubishi F-1 fighter jets of Japan's Air Self- Defense Force (ASDF) took off from the Misawa Air Base, heading for a training exercise off the coast of Honshu island.
Japanese air traffic controllers lost radio contact with two of the three jets at approximately 6:58 p.m. Both jets vanished from the radar screen at the same moment.
The pilot of the third plane radioed that he had seen "a red fireball during the flying maneuvers."
The two missing ASDF pilots were identified as 1st Lt. Hirokazu Nagai, 29, and 1st Lt. Madoka Nakaya, 29.
Both F-1s disappeared over the Pacific Ocean about 60 kilometers (36 miles) east of Kuji, a city in northern Iwate prefecture about 600 kilometers (360 miles) north of Tokyo.
Japan's Self-Defense Forces and Maritime Safety Agency dispatched 13 patrol boats and 13 planes to search the area. Early Wednesday morning, August 26, one boat found a fragment from one of the F-1s, measuring "50 centimeters by 30 centimers, dark green on the top and white on the bottom," thought to be a part of a jet's horizontal stabilizer.
The Japanese government confirmed that the third pilot had mentioned a fireball but stated that the two jets "disappeared after apparently colliding Tuesday evening during low-altitude drills." (See Japan Times for September 5, 1998, "Missing Fighters." Many thanks to Stig Agermose for forwarding the newspaper article.)
On Sunday afternoon, September 6, 1998, a family of four living in Voreppe, a town near Grenoble in the French Alps, received the shock of their lives.
Looking up, the unidentified husband and wife, their three-year-old child and the grandmother spotted "a slow, hovering, seemingly metallic shiny sphere about two meters (6.6 feet) above the top of a cherry tree."
As the UFO hovered and hummed, the man ran indoors to fetch his camcorder. When he rushed back outside, he switched it on and "shot two minutes of videotape, showing the departure of the object."
The family then telephoned the Gendarmerie (French police--J.T.) The officers took the videotape, contacted SEPRA, the French government agency devoted to UFO research, and reportedly advised the witnesses "not to speak to any ufologists about the incident."
Two investigators from the SEPRA office in Toulouse spent two days investigating the encounter scene. They took burned branches from the cherry tree for lab analysis.
In a brief statement, SEPRA said the videotape was "very interesting" and "useable" in terms of further UFO research.
The case was also investigated by the Rhone-Alpes delegation of SOS OVNI, the French ufological study group, which is based in Lyon.
On Friday, September 11, 1998, representatives of the Centre Nacional des Etudes Spaciaux (CNES) saw the videotape and also interviewed the four eyewitnesses.
Jean-Jacques Velasco of CNES said the UFO "looks as if it is floating and then moves away in a curious way." He described the object as "a round disc, about 5 meters (16.5 feet) across with a few protuberances coming out of it and a red ring around its bottom."
Voreppe is in the department of Isere about 400 kilometers (240 miles) southeast of Paris. (Merci beaucoup a Perry Petrakis de SOS OVNI pour ces nouvelles.)
On August 9, 1998, Eunice Stansfield, her daughter and her son-in-law Mario witnessed a fall of "angel hair" from a squadron of 20 silver-sphere UFOs near Quirindi, a town in New South Wales, Australia.
However, a second "angel hair" incident took place the same day, three hours earlier at 2 p.m.
That day, Gary S., a Telstra technician, drove from his home in Gunnedah, N.S.W. to the telephone exchange at Piallaway, 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of Quirindi, to do some repair work.
Reaching his destination at about 2 p.m., Gary emerged from his car and "noticed masses of white cobweb-like material falling down all around him, falling onto fences, telephones lines and onto his car. He could not see anything up in the clear blue sky at all."
Gary telephoned the Stansfields after reading about their experience in the Sydney Daily Telegraph for August 11, 1998.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Stansfield and her daughter had saved several long filaments of the white material and stored them in a yogurt jar. They turned over the sample to ufologists Moira McGhee of INUFOR and Bryan Dickeson of UFORNSW on August 13.
They reportedly made arrangements with ufologist Bill Chalker to have the sample tested at a private laboratory in Sydney. Among the tests scheduled are vacuum chamber and gas chromatography analysis.
Piallaway, N.S.W. is about 340 kilometers (204 miles) northwest of Sydney. (See Australian UFO Reports and Encounters #7 for September 1998. Many thanks to editor Robert Frola for letting UFO Roundup quote from the issue.)
In last week's issue, your editor wrote that the mysterious slaying of a lamb by a large black panther-like beast in Western Australia took place "on a station," or ranch as we say here in the USA. Roundup reader Harry Mason informs me that the events happened "mostly on small holding farms and house properties and in adjacent National Park/ Water Board land...These events have happened within an hour's drive of Perth/Fremantle in what we call Rural OZ, literally on the edge of civilization." Thanks for setting us straight, Harry.
On Monday, September 7, 1998, photographer Dijano Pavlinovic and a friend, Milivoj Vela, left their hometown of Podgora in southern Croatia and hiked up to the Biokovo alpine valley.
Along the way, Pavlinovic shot many photos of flowers, hillsides and ridges. He hopes to use them in a future exhibition entitled Flowers and Stones.
While developing the pictures at a photo shop in Podgora, Pavlinovic "nearly fell on his bottom in surprise. Dijano, who is in love with his home area, had apparently photographed something that apparently does not have any connection" with the Biokovo region. "To be more precise, it doesn't have any connection with any area on this planet."
"'What do you think this is?' Dijano asked, showing the photo to the owner of the shop."
"'Dijano! Mother of God, you have photographed a spaceship!' the man said, crossing himself."
All eight customers in the shop rushed to have a look at the photo, "and everyone agreed that Dijano had had a close encounter of the third kind."
"Immediately, several people of Podgora" hiked up to Biokovo "to see if the aliens were still there."
"So here was only this photograph--unexplainable flash of the saucer above stones and plants, probably containing visitors who didn't stop for food or coffee and who are not interested in when the Split/Zagreb road (Highway 7) will be finished."
Podgora is a small city near the port of Ploche, about 275 kilometers (165 miles) south of Zagreb, Croatia's capital. (See the Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija for September 10, 1998, page 5. Many thanks to Giuliano Marinkovic of AGETI for this news story.)
On Sunday, August 30, 1998, at just after 10 p.m., Mark G. and three companions were "on a road near the old coast road" in Weymouth, Dorset, UK when they spotted something unusual in the sky.
"One of our party noticed something and pointed, I think, to the east," Mark reported. "I looked across and saw three faint but glowing lights similar to stars, arranged in an irregular triangular shape. They were also ten degrees above the horizon and moving across the sky to the right, keeping the same elevation, heading south or southwest, I think."
"The triangular shape the lights made was actually rotating clockwise as they were moving, and I got the impression that the lights did not keep the same distance from each other as they rotated."
"The 'shape' was probably a little smaller than a coin at arm's length and seemed to be several miles away. I had it in view for about eight seconds and then lost sight, as it was going quite fast. It covered about 90 degrees of the horizon in this time. I told the others that I had lost sight, but one of them still had it in view, saying several other lights had appeared to the right. They also disappeared from view."
Mark added that he "cannot think of anything airbourne that would behave in that way."
Weymouth is on Britain's south coast about 110 miles (176 kilometers) southwest of London. (Email Interview)
On Saturday, August 22, 1998, at about 12:30 a.m., travel agent Hakan Solyer, his wife and his brother's wife were on a quiet beach near Antalya, a Turkish city on the Mediterranean Sea.
Suddenly, "We saw two lights coming from the Olympos Valley," Hakan reported, "The UFOs were very close to each other and very fast. The closest UFO to us was very bright. We did not see any colored lights on their wings or hear any sound."
The trio then spied a third UFO. "They moved very fast, creating a delta-shape, and in a very short time they became like stars and disappeared. For these reasons, we do not think they were military jets. We could not see any stars for a while in the area where they disappeared. Three of us observed them--my wife, my brother's wife and myself."
Antalya is on Turkey's south coast about 360 kilometers (216 miles) southwest of Ankara, the national capital. (See Filer's Files #36 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer, Eastern director of MUFON for this news story.)
Triangular UFOs were seen in the Netherlands during August, at the same time similar UFOs were observed over the Ardennes forest in nearby France and Belgium.
According to Dutch ufologist Andy Denne of A.U.R.A., residents of Enschede, a city located 200 kilometers (120 miles) east of Amsterdam, on August 1, 1998 "saw a lone dark triangle. After watching the object flying in a straight line for 30 minutes, it suddenly changed its course and shot off in the direction of the German border."
On August 12, 1998, other Enschede residents "observed a triangular UFO with a bright white light at each corner. The witnesses reported seeing the object three times" that night.
This case was investigated by UFO Werkgruppe Nederland, a UFO study group based in Enschede.
According to UFO Werkgruppe Nederland, "all of them (the witnesses) saw the object in the evening at 11 p.m., 11:15 p.m. and at about 11:45 p.m."
The first sighting reported "three lights in a triangle."
During the second sighting at 11:15 p.m., "the three lights were moving. And later, seen by one of the witnesses, moving around each other."
During the third sighting at 11:45 p.m., "the three lights were again in a triangular shape. There was no sound." (Many thanks to Errol Bruce-Knapp and UFO Werkgruppe Nederland for this story.)
On Monday, September 7, 1998, at 2:40 p.m., ufologist Mike Harman was driving west on Interstate Highway I-20 near Big Spring, Texas (population 23,093) "when I suddenly had an urge to look left out of my car window."
"I spotted a silver or gray-colored saucer moving in an easterly direction," Mike reported. "I could make out the oval or saucer shape quite clearly...it had no wings or tail. It reflected the sunlight as it went by. The UFO was in view for approximately 10 seconds and was moving rather slowly throughout the sighting."
"If this object had been any smaller, I probably would not have been able to make out its shape and eventually lost sight of it as it moved into the clear blue sky."
Big Spring, Texas is approximately 293 miles (469 kilometers) west of Dallas. (Many thanks to Mike Harman for this news story.)
On Monday, September 7, 1998, at 9:30 p.m., college student Elizabeth G., age 18, left her friend's house to drive home. It's a fifteen-minute drive.
However, Elizabeth did not arrive home until 10:45 p.m. Moreover, she has no recollection of driving on Interstate Highway I-40 between White Pine (population 1,771) and Dandridge (population 1,540), Tennessee.
According to her mother, Patricia G., Elizabeth "had just gotten on Interstate 81 south. She only remembers what she thought was a semi truck's lights behind her--then waiting until the stop sign changed at the 417 exit."
The next thing Elizabeth knew, "she was pulling into our driveway (at 10:45 p.m.), feeling disoriented, confused and extremely anxious."
The next day, Elizabeth found "a red mark on the nape of her neck" that she could not explain.
Patricia explained that her daughter is a college freshman and a National Honor Society student. The family, which formerly resided in Edgewood, New Mexico, moved to Tennessee four years ago.
Dandridge is located 31 miles (49 kilometers) east of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Both mother and daughter have been plagued by recurring bouts of clicking or humming noises in the head, quite different from conventional tintinnitis symptoms. (Email Interview)
On Wednesday, September 9, 1998, skywatcher Mary S. grabbed her 50X binoculars and went out in the backyard of her home in Taylorsville, Kentucky (population 774). She decided to use the "sun watch" technique in an effort to spot UFOs.
She reported several sightings.
9:40 a.m. - Mary spotted "a white oval shape at about 55 degrees" above the horizon. "I watched until the object vanished."
10:28 a.m. - "Small white oval objects moving, seemed to zigzag about 60 degrees."
10:32 a.m. - "Bright white streak (USAF jet?--J.T.) moving north to northeast about 80 degrees."
12:32 p.m. - "Several small white objects seemed to be floating, moving south to southeast about 65 to 70 degrees."
1:07 p.m. - "A small white vapor that made three small arches in the sky, although I could not see a shape."
1:33 p.m. - "Swirls of vapor lasted about 8 seconds. The swirls were constantly changing direction."
1:59 p.m. - "A white oval shape about 85 degrees seemed to come from the south. It disappeared after about five to seven seconds."
Mary added, "I am a devout Catholic and, as God is my witness, this is true. I know now for a fact there are UFOs. This is nothing that can be explained away."
Taylorsville is at the intersection of Kentucky Highways 44 and 55, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Louisville. (Email Interview)
Several local men, including a former mayor, saw strange bright lights dancing in the sky at Pond Creek in Fairfield, Illinois (population 5,439) on Wednesday night, September 2, 1998.
According to the Evansville, Indiana Courier, "A group of Wayne County men, including a former Fairfield mayor and a police officer, say they saw strange lights in the area Wednesday night."
"The men, who were attending a private gathering in the Pond Creek bottom near Fairfield, said a sequence of bright white lights, then bright orange appeared about every five to ten minutes for about an hour."
"'They started shining up around 9:30 p.m.-- bright white lights dancing around in the sky,' said Fairfield police officer Braden Willis. 'When the white light disappeared, we all heard what sounded like distant thunder rolling toward us.'"
"Harold Tubbs, former Fairfield mayor, his son Richie and several Fairfield Municipal workers told the Wayne County Sheriff's Department they saw the lights."
"One possible explanation was that the 101st Fighter Group out of Terre Haute, Ind. (Indiana--J.T.) often flies in that area, said Jeff Light, an Evansville, Ind. Regional Airport air traffic control spokesman."
"A spokesman for the National Weather Service at Paducah, Ky. (Kentucky--J.T.) said there was no unusual weather phenomena Wednesday night."
Fairfield is on Illinois Highway 15 about 311 miles (497 kilometers) south of Chicago. The town is also 55 miles (88 kilometers) northwest of Evansville, Ind., which has been the site of much UFO activity during the past few months. (See the Evansville, Ind. Courier for September 4, 1998, "What's That?" by reporter Len Wells. Many thanks to Errol Bruce-Knapp for forwarding the newspaper article.)
Finishing off the summer of 1998 was the most catastrophic satellite disaster yet.
On Thursday, September 10, 1998, Russia tried to launch a rocket carrying 12 commercial satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in neighboring Kazakhstan.
The Zenit-2 rocket lifted off from Baikonur on schedule. However, five minutes into the flight, the rocket engines suddenly and unexpectedly shut down.
"The Ukrainian manufacturer acknowledged it might be responsible, saying it was probably a computer malfunction."
Aboard the Zenit-2 were twelve Globalstar communications satellites, "built by Space Systems Loral, a subsidiary of Loral Space and Communications Ltd. of New York. The satellites were going to be used as part of a $2.6 billion global hand-held mobile satellite phone system, said company spokesman David Benton."
According to news reports, the rocket and its payload of satellites "partially burned up" during reentry into Earth's atmosphere. (See the Providence, R.I. Journal for September 11, 1998, "U.S. satellites destroyed in Russian-led launch," page A-7)
(Editor's Comment: We just keep losing satellites, don't we? First the Galaxy 4, then the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), then the Vortex, then the Galaxy 10, now the Globalstar bunch. No mention of this in the mainstream media, though. I wonder why...)
On Friday, September 11, 1998, searchers located and retrieved the cockpit voice recorder from the sunken wreckage of Swissair Flight 111, the MD-11 jetliner that crashed in St. Margaret's Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada on Wednesday, September 2, 1998, killing all 229 people aboard.
As of Saturday, September 12, Canadian authorities indicated that they would not release a transcript of the last moments of conversation between pilot Urs Zimmerman, copilot Stephan Loew and Air Traffic Control at Moncton, New Brunswick.
The discovery of the second black box climaxed a week of startling developments in the search.
Swissair 111's flight data recorder was found last weekend "five miles offshore at a depth of 190 feet by divers working with hand-held sonar devices. (Chief crash investigator Vic) Gerden said the 12 divers were able to work at that depth for only about seven minutes at a time, with their visibility limited to about 10 feet." (See the Boston, Mass. Herald for September 7, 1998, "Searchers find crucial clues.")
Canada moved more troops into the search area earlier this week, including the Fourth Air Defense Regiment from CFB Gagetown and First Battalion, Nova Scotia Highlanders Reserve Infantry.
"The search also extended to several small islands near the crash area that had not been combed before yesterday (September 6, 1998). said Canadian Army Capt. Mike Notaro of the Fourth Air Defense Regiment in Gagetown. 'The problem is, you can clear a beach, then the tide comes in again and it leaves again, so it is one step forward and two steps back,' he said."
"The young regiment members--many just 19 or 20 years old--use large sticks that they find on the beaches to turn over rocks and to steady themselves as they walk along the slippery shoreline searching for debris from the plane." (See the Boston Herald for September 7, 1998, "Locals pray for crash victims." page 5.)
On Wednesday, September 9, 1998, the USS Grapple arrived off Blandford, N.S. to assist in recovery of pieces of the aircraft's fuselage.
"Commissioned in 1986, the Grapple is one of four (U.S.) Navy rescue-and-salvage ships."
"On board the Grapple are 32 Navy divers who can go as deep as 190 feet with the help of a diving stage or open bell that is lowered by cable from the ship...The ship carries a robotic submersible known as a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that uses cameras, lasers and sonars to map the ocean at depths of 7,200 feet." (See USA Today for September 9, 1998, "Ship crucial in TWA recovery to help in Nova Scotia," page 4A.)
Information from the recovered flight data recorder has only deepened the mystery of what happened to the aircraft.
"Sixteen minutes after the first report of trouble, Flight 111 crashed. A transponder aboard the jet had stopped broadcasting its position, and the flight data recorder showed that it stopped processing data at about 10,000 feet, both suggesting a power failure aboard the jet, which spiraled clockwise sharply into the sea." (See USA Today for September 8, 1998, "Swissair pilots had few options, little time," page 15A.)
On Thursday, September 10, Gerden "also gave new details about the last minutes of Flight 111...He said the last signal from the plane came just after 10:26 p.m. Atlantic (Halifax) time (9:26 p.m. EDT (New York) time) when it was flying at 9,700 feet at a speed of 275 miles per hour."
"The plane disappeared from radar screens five minutes later, and a few seconds after that an impact was recorded on seismic graphs at a geological center 25 miles away near Halifax, Gerden said."
"Gerden said the plane's recovered flight data recorder indicated irregularities in various systems on the plane during the last five minutes before the recorder stopped working, one minute before the plane's last signal." (See the Providence, R.I. Journal for Friday, September 11, 1998, "Swissair jet crashed into ocean with tremendous impact," page A13.)
"Investigators say a fire in the electronics bay could offer one explanation for the increasing garbled data contained by the flight data recorder. Gerden said recovered bits of cockpit, including a piece of seat cover, show signs of heat and soot."
"But he said more analysis was needed: 'We have not yet had enough time to understand the significance of of the sequence and the patterns of these fault codes that were developing.'" (See USA Today for September 11, 1998, "Flight data recorder shows faulty electronics," page 11A)
(Editor's Comment: Lest we forget, the USS Grapple assisted in the deep-water recovery of TWA Flight 800 back in August 1996. Also, the Grapple's sister ship, USS Grasp, recovered pieces of the demolished Challenger space shuttle from the ocean off Cape Canaveral, Florida back in 1986.)
1978: ITALIAN BARBER MEETS TWO SMALL ALIENS
Twenty years ago, on September 17, 1978, a UFO flap rocked the small community of Torrita di Siena in Italy.
It started at 8:15 p.m. "when a woman and her son saw a descending red ball illuminating the area, and watched houselights black out."
"Shortly afterwards a barber got in his car and drove a few meters, when suddenly his engine and lights went out as a bright object descended over the road just ahead of his car."
"Hovering about a half-meter over the road was a 3-meter orange-red diameter domed disc with three light beams extending to the road. A panel opened, and two humanoids about 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall, wearing green coveralls and helmets with antennae, 'floated' toward the car. They circled the car, apparently more interested in it than the passengers. Then they entered the UFO which took off in a flash of light and explosive sound."
"Three scorched circles about 50 centimeters in diameter were found on the road surface, apparently correspinding to the three lights beams." (See MUFON UFO Journal #153 for November 1980, "The Italian UFO Wave of 1978" by Richard Hall. See also UNINVITED GUESTS by Richard Hall, Aurora Press, Santa Fe, N.M. 1988, page 297.)
For the latest in UFO sightings in Latin America, check out Dr. Virgilio Sanchez Ocejo's Miami UFO Reporter. It's at http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/1341/index.html
Scott Corrales's Inexplicata website is now up and running. There are plenty of great UFO and Chupacabras stories at Scott's site at this URL: http://www.inexplicata.com
Anthony Chippendale has revamped his UFO NET website. Drop in and check out the all-new features at http://www.ufo-net.clara.net
Don't miss our parent site, UFOINFO. Some new artwork is available, I hear. Be sure to stop in at http://ufoinfo.com
Back issues of UFO Roundup can be read and downloaded at our webpage. Log in at http://ufoinfo.com/roundup for the best in UFO reading.
And we'll be back next weekend with more saucer news from around the planet, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup. See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1998 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post items from UFO Roundup on their websites or in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.