TEAMS HUNT FOR SUSPECTED UFO IN NORTHERN ARGENTINA
On Tuesday, January 25, 2000, around 1 p.m., residents of Sachayoj, a village in Chaco province in northern Argentina, spotted a bright "shiny" object in the sky. Some witnesses described it as "a ball of fire."
"An enormous ball of fire slammed into a densely-wooded wilderness region, and residents claim to have heard loud noises followed by an explosion and much smoke. A tremor also shook the entire area for several minutes."
Eyewitness Ramon Agustin, who works at the Andres Bello Provincial School #188 in Sachayoj, "explained that the phenomenon he witnessed caused 'a very strong reaction' in him, and he 'had no idea what what was falling down. I felt considerable panic and fear.'"
The panic was shared by other residents. A witness named Rojas explained that the "fireball was quite large and descended rapidly from the north towards the south, accompanied by loud whistling and thunder. I looked at it and felt paralyzed. I didn't know what to do. After the event, I ran away and stayed with my family."
"In the direction where it presumably descended, local residents were reduced to tears," he added.
Sachayoj is located in La Esperanza, a sparsely- populated region of subtropical rain forest and deep, wide canyons. The area is about 450 kilometers (270 miles) northeast of Santiago del Estero and 575 kilometers (345 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, the national capital.
The village commissioner, Sra. Olga Bertodotti, told Argentinian newspapers that "a farmhand at the project known as Fabril Chaquena witnessed the object's fall."
On Wednesday, January 26, 2000, "technicians, researchers and astronomers from all parts of the country (Argentina)," converged on the region and began a search under the supervision of the Policia Provincial.
On Friday, January 28, 2000, the police interviewed many of the witnesses.
On Saturday, January 29, 2000, "police combed on foot the vicinity of Sachayoj to find the unidentified object, which, like a fireball, fell to Earth on Tuesday and was also sighted from Chaco" province.
"Experts, police and a group of baquenos (hunting guides--J.T.) scouted the area known as La Esperanza, northeast of Santiago del Estero in search of the luminous unidentified object that surprised local residents on Tuesday."
Opinions vary as to what the object really was. Some say it must have been a meteor; others insist that it was a "shiny UFO."
According to Sra. Bertodotti, "With the arrival of the year 2000 and apocalyptic beliefs, townspeople are concerned about the strange object that fell from the sky and are following events closely."
"Residents all agree that 'a thing in the sky, very shiny, fell in the wilderness. There was smoke, and the earth shook."
Argentinian ufologist Carlos Alberto Zardia said, "We are hoping to find something because the locals are simple people with no reason to lie. It may well be that this thing was a meteorite instead of a spacecraft." (See the Argentinian newspapers Diario Hoy de la Plata for January 29, 2000 and Intervoz de Cordoba for January 30, 2000. Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales, autor del libro Chupacabras and Other Mysteries y Gloria Coluchi para esas historias.)
(Editor's Comment: Interestingly January 20 was the fourth anniversary of another UFO crash in South America--the one at Varginha in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. This is certainly Argentina's week to dominate the news. Read on.)
MISSING AIRLINER FOUND ON MOUNTAINTOP IN THE ANDES
On August 1, 1947, the Star Dust, an Avro Tudor airliner with four propellor engines, took off from the brand-new Heathrow airport just outside London. The British South American Airways (BSAA) airliner was on her way to Santiago de Chile.
The Star Dust's crew consisted of the pilot, Captain Reginald Cook, who had flown hundreds of hours in RAF Lancaster bombers during World War II; First Officer Norman Hilton-Cook, Second Officer Donald Checklin, Radio Operator Dennis Harmer and Stewardess Iris Adams.
Also aboard was a very special passenger, Paul Simpson, 44, a diplomatic envoy known as a "King's Messenger" and a close confidant of King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II--J.T.)
Following its flight across the Atlantic (on the same route as her doomed sisters, the Star Tiger and the Star Ariel--J.T.), the airliner refueled at the airfield in Punta Asuncion, Argentina and then took off on the last leg of her flight--right over the Andes.
With the wings and four Rolls-Royce Merlin engines of the wratime Lancaster bomber, the 1,000-horsepower Tudor had a flight ceiling of 25,000 feet (8,000 meters) and could easily fly over the high Andes mountains.
But something happened to the Star Dust. "It was headed for Santiago de Chile when it lost radio contact at 2 p.m. on August 2, 1947."
In the weeks that followed, searchers scoured the upper slopes of Mount Aconcagua and El Mercedario "but were unsuccessful in locating it."
But in December 1999, Argentinian aviation enthusiast Juan Carlos Mouso was flying over Mount Tupungato, 110 kilometers (66 miles) southwest of Mendoza and 500 kilometers and 500 kilometers (300 miles) west of Buenos Aires, "when he spotted the glint of sunshine on a fuselage on the mountain's south face."
Mouso convinced the Argentinian government to mount a search of Tupungato. Assisting Mouso in the arduous climb was Argentina's 11th Mountain Infantry Regiment.
On Monday, January 24, 2000, Mouso and two Argentinian soldiers "found a badly-damaged four- engine Lancaster and three frozen bodies" on one of Tupungato's glaciers at an altitude of 5,500 meters (17,600 feet.)."
Apparently, the Star Dust had exploded in mid-air, scattering debris over the snowfields to a distance of one kilometer (0.62 miles).
"Investigators huffing through the thin air at the crash site found twisted metal and the remains of three frozen bodies amid the wreckage of the fuselage."
"'Because the plane exploded, the remains may be spread over a radius of 1,000 meters, so we don't discount the possibility of finding more body parts,' said Lt. Col. Ricardo Bustos of the 11th Mountain Infantry Regiment."
"Besides the three bodies, the searchers also found a woman's hand and a shoe with a Royal Air Force (RAF) insignia that may have belonged to one of the pilots."
"'The urgency now is to fence off the (crash) site so no one removes any of the discovered remains until a group of specialists can arrive, which is difficult but not impossible,' Lt. Col. Bustos said."
Argentinian "federal judge Alfredo Manuel Rodriguez is in charge of the forensic investigation and is taking fingerprints and DNA samples to establish the victims' identities."
Paul Simpson was reportedly wearing a small silver lapel pin in the form of a running greyhoud. This is the insignia of a King's Messenger and will probably be used to identify his remains, if they are found. (See the Argentinian newspapers Uno for January 24, 2000 and La Nacion for January 26, 2000. Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Jim Hickman para esas historias.)
(Editor's Comment: Exploded in mid-air!? There's a mystery for you! Also, the Star Dust went down exactly ten days after the first UFO landing in South America. On July 23, 1947, a UFO described as "a Saturn-shaped saucer 150 feet wide" landed at Bauru in western Sao,Paulo state, Brazil. All the workmen at the scene fled except Jose C. Higgins, who talked for an hour with several of the UFO occupants. Higgins described the aliens as "seven feet tall, with huge red eyes, large round bald heads, no eyebrows, no beards and legs longer in proportion than hours." Fore more on the doomed Star Tiger and Star Ariel, see UFO Roundup, Volume 5, Numbers 3 and 4.)
GIANT ICE CHUNKS FALL ON CITIES IN ITALY
Last week Italy became the second European country, after Spain, to experience multiple falls of giant chunks of ice.
On the evening of Thursday, January 27, 2000, "an ice block fell in Avellino, in Campania province," about 250 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Rome and about 120 kilometers (72 miles) east of Napoli (Naples) "which according to specialists may have fallen from a plane."
"A chunk of ice weighing two kilograms was reported" to have fallen "on the patio of the Salesians (monastery) in the town of L'Aquila. The religious order notified the police of this event."
In Ancona, "the magistrate's office will investigate a report that a 24-year-old man was struck on the head by a block of ice weighing one kilogram."
"However, there are always those who take advantage of the confusion that this phenomenon has produced...but other eyewitnesses claim to have seen them fall inexplicably from the sky."
"Likewise confessions have been extracted from those who have taken advantage of the 'psychosis' to play pranks in the cities of Bolsena, Firenze (Florence) and Padua. But these are insufficient to explain a phenomenon which remains a complete mystery."
"Initial analyses" of the Avellino ice "has proven that the block consists of a liquid similar to distilled water, in other words, lacking any mineral salts whatsoever, and with traces of ammonia and nitrates."
According to the Veneto Regional Environmental Agency, "scientists discounted the possibility that the ice chunks may be radioactive."
Dr. Giancarlo Tebaldi of the Hygiene and Prevention Institute of Milano (Milan) "believes that the ice is a result of the storms that ravaged France in December (1999)."
Italian ufologist Eufemio Del Buono "stated that the ice is 'a warning from extraterrestrial intelligences.'" (See the Agence France Presse story for January 28, 2000. Grazie a Scott Corrales per questo rapporto.)
(Editor's Comment: First Spain, now Italy. So far, the ice has fallen between 40 and 42 degrees North latitude. If this stuff is from space, the next country to get hit may be either Albania, Macedonia or northern Greece.)
MYSTERY METEOR LIGHTS UP WESTERN AUSTRALIA
On Thursday, January 27, 2000, at 11 p.m., "a very bright white light," described as "a basket ball sized fireball with a flourescent green train" crossed the southern coast of Western Australia (W.A.) state "Between Albany and Esperance and headed northeast at an estimated altitude of 100 kilometers (60 miles)."
Esperance, W.A. is located 672 kilometers (420 miles) southeast of Perth, the state capital.
The mysterious object "reportedly split into three or four pieces at an estimated altitude of 80 kilometers (50 miles) by the time it reached Kalgoorlie and the Eastern Goldfields. It was observed from as far away as Shark Bay (on Australia's northwest coast--J.T.)"
"Three pieces exploded east of Kalgoorlie whilst the fourth travelled some 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) to Wyndham in the northeast where it disintegrated into many smaller pieces at an estimated altitude of 20 kilometers (12 miles)."
The Perth Astronomical Observatory "received hundreds of phone calls on the event."
An observatory spokesman said the fireball could have been the Russian satellite Molynia returning to Earth. The Molynia was launched back in 1986. (See the newspaper The Western Australian for January 28, 2000. Many thanks to Harry Mason for this news story.)
BEACHGOERS SIGHT UFO IN MEXICO'S BAJA REGION
On Friday, December 31, 1999, James B. and some friends were readying a bonfire on a Sea of Cortez beach near San Felipe in Mexico's Baja California del Norte when they saw something strange in the sky.
"My friend and I saw a big dull red light going from north to south above the horizon at several thousand miles per hour," Jim reported, "I've never see anything go that fast. Did anyone else in Baja seen anything that night?"
San Felipe is on Camino (Highway) 5 about 249 kilometers (156 miles) south of Mexicali. (Email Form Report)
COUPLE SEES A UFO IN SOUTHERN ALABAMA
On Wednesday, December 28, 1999, Lynn L. and her husband were outdoors in their hometown of Tillmans Corner, Alabama (population 5,000) when they saw a UFO.
"My husband and I were looking at the moon and saw what we thought was a star. It moved to the right, then stopped. I got out of the car and looked at it. It had turned and two large bright lights were in front of it and a red light in the middle. We knew it wasn't a plane."
"It flew over us at a very slow speed, and it made no sound whatsoever. We were really scared at first, at least I sure was."
"The back of it was huge. I really couldn't tell but it looked like two big shapes on either end of it in the back," Lynn reported, adding that the object was at an estimated altitude of 1,200 feet and was "triangular in shape, with green and red lights."
After the couple drove home, she added, "Strange things happened later that night in my house. I know it sounds strange but here goes: A house plant that I'd had (for years) turned up missing that same night. It just disappeared."
Lynn found the flowerpot, but the plant itself and the soil it had been anchored in were missing.
"There was no soil in the pot where it was. I just can't understand it."
Tillmans Corner is on Highway 90 approximately 11 miles (17 kilometers) south of Mobile. (Email Form Report)
MULTICOLORED UFO SEEN IN ELK RIVER, MINNESOTA
On Friday, January 28, 2000 at 9 p.m., and again on Saturday, January 29, 2000 at 5:30 a.m., residents of Elk River, Minnesota (population 11,143) spied an unusual object with bright multicolored lights hovering near their homes.
"We first noticed a bright red light in the sky," Denise M. reported. "At first I thought it was a jet since we have jets that pass over making their descent into MSP (Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport--J.T.) The UFO approached from the east and hovered. The longer I watched, I realized it was not moving. It was also emitting blue, green, red and white lights."
"I went and got my binoculars so I could look at it closer. Viewing it through the binoculars, you could see that it had white lights that ran around the bottom of the object, and blue, green and red lights were flashing from the top."
"I watched for approximately 45 minutes before it moved to the south, then hovered in that position."
"During this time, I called a neighbor to verify what I was seeing. He also tried to look through the binoculars and agreed he had never seen anything like it. This continued for approximately two-and-a- half minutes before it disappeared to the southeast."
"From a distance, it appeared to be moving quite slowly. Could someone respond back if they've seen anything similar?"
Elk River is on Highway 10 approximately 22 miles (34 kilometers) north of Minneapolis. (Email Form Report)
"GOD'S ARMY" TAKES THE OFFENSIVE IN THAILAND
A new guerrilla army has sprung up in western Thailand on the border with Myanmar, and it is rooted in religious mysticism.
"Until late last month, Johnny and Luther Htoo, the chain-smoking 12-year-old leaders of God's Army, were minor players in an ethnic struggle for a homeland inside Burma (Myanmar)."
The Htoo twins were among the 2,000 refugees of the Karen people who fled to Thailand in March 1997 to escape the Myanmar Army. But then events took a strange turn.
"The twins, just nine years old, approached a local pastor, The Pe, and said spirit warriors on a fabled holy mountain had told them to find seven men to fight the Burmese army."
"The Pe helped the twins recruit a force numbering 100 men and christened them 'the Jesus Commandos.' The ragtag troops then routed the Burmese troops in a noontime ambush. The victory gave birth to belief in the unbeatable powers of the twin warriors."
"In the months that followed...the group changed its name to God's Army and established a jungle hideout" near Mae Sot, Thailand. "The guerrillas carried out a series of successful ambushes during 1997."
In December 1999, ten God's Army soldiers "slipped into Thailand and siezed a provincial hospital and about 700 hostages. Thai commandos eventually freed all the hostages and shot dead all the captors."
"The twins have had handlers from time to time. One such man was a shadowy dwarf named 'Mr. David.' 'This kind of character, if you put him in a movie, you're accused of too much,' says Thierry Falise, a French photojournalist referring to Mr. David's sudden appearance in the bizarre tale."
The Htoo twins have very different personalities. "Johnny is much more of a jokester, while Luther has a war-weary and intimidating gaze. It is Luther who is thought to have established the moral teachings for God's Army--a mix of religious restrictions that forbids adultery, eating pork or eggs, drinking alcohol or taking drugs."
"Their faith is a combination of Christianity, imported to the area by Nineteenth Century American Baptists, and spirit-worshiping animism (i.e. the traditional religion of the indigenous Karen people-- J.T.) The camp's church is little more than bamboo pews and an altar. Its roof is the jungle canopy, Falise says. Soldiers wore crosses but regarded them as talismans. If the twins want to go anywhere outside their immediate surroundings, they are carried by older soldiers."
"Karen are particularly receptive to messianic figures because their folklore tells of a king who will liberate the people from suffering, according to Pornpimon Trichod, a researcher at Chulalongkorn University's Institute of Asian Studies." (See USA Today for February 2, 2000. "'God's Army,' led by boys, driven by faith," page 14A.)
(Editor's Comment: First it was Cong Chua Yeu Thuat in Vietnam. Now it's Johnny and Luther Htoo in Thailand. What's with all these religion-based armies springing up in Southeast Asia? The hidden masters of Tong Yao must be working overtime to keep the pot boiling.)
from the UFO Files...
1979: UFO HOVERS OVER A CATTLE STATION IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
"It was a dark, moonless, hot January night (in 1979) on Dave and Rita Turner's lonely cattle station (ranch in the USA--J.T.) on the Kimberley Plateau north of Halls Creek, Western Australia."
"Dave had driven off to visit a neighbouring property owner for a short meeting, while Rita stayed home and watched television."
"As she watched, the screen flickered badly. At the same time their dogs began barking wildly. Rita could hear the cattle, horses and fowls going mad in their enclosures out behind the farmhouse."
"Leaving the lounge room to investigate the disturbance, she could hear a high-pitched humming sound coming from outside the house. As she emerged from the back door, she found the whole farmyard lit up by an ionised blue glow coming from above. As she looked up, she was shocked to see a large circular object, at least 20 metres (66 feet) across, emitting the ionised blue glow while hovering directly over the farmhouse barely 30 metres (100 feet) above the roof."
"Then, as she stood speechless, the humming sound faded along with the ionised blue glow. The eerie craft grew dark and rose silently into the sky to be lost from sight."
"Regaining her senses, Rita phoned up the neighbour and asked Dave to come home at once."
"She also phoned the police. By the time they arrived the next day, many other property owners over a wide area of the Kimberley had reported seeing the same mystery craft that night."
"Dave was mystified by the whole incident when Rita related her experience to the two startled constables who visited the station."
"A week later, she received an explanation from the authorities. The RAAF's conclusion? (Royal Australian Air Force--J.T.) What Rita Turner had seen was nothing more than the 'flashing blue light of a police car'!
"Obviously she had been visited by the flying squad!" (See the book Mysterious Australia by Rex Gilroy, Nexus Publishing, Mapleton, Qnld., Australia, 1995, page 28.)
Britain's UFO Magazine has obtained 2,500 hours of NASA space shuttle launches. The material was originally compiled by a Canadian TV station manager who believes that the video footage confirms extraterrestrial activity.
Portions of the collection have already been shown at the UFO Conference in Acapulco, Mexico on December 12, 1999 and at the Phenomena exposition in Fremantle, W.A., Australia.
UFO Magazine will feature this collection in its March-April 2000 issue, which goes on sale in UK on February 24, 2000. People looking for a preview can log in at this website. Set your browser for http://www.ufomag.co.uk/NASA100.htm.
We'll be back in seven days with more UFO and paranormal news from around the planet, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." Have a nice week...and stay on the lookout for Punxsatawny Phil.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2000 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news 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.