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UFO Sighting Report - South Africa

September 15th 1998 : Lydenburg, Mpumalanga

UFO Sighting - Lydenburg, South Africa

Report investigated and submitted by Tinus de Beer ( Mutual UFO Network - South Africa )

Early on the morning of 15 September 1998 a diesel train carrying ore, on its way to Lydenburg in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, was making its way into the Schalksrust station, 20km NNE of Lydenburg. (This is an unmanned station.)

In the locomotive were driver JP de Villiers, sitting on the right-hand side of the cabin, and his assistant SJ (Faan) de Beer. As they entered the station at 03:32am JP slowed the train to less than 10 km/h and established radio communication with the train control official in Lydenburg to obtain authorization to move onto the next section of track. This process involves the obtaining and writing down of an authorization code and reading it back to the control official.

Just as JP started this process, Faan, looking out the left-hand side windows, noticed what he thought could be a "shooting star" coming down to the left and in front of them, about 80 meters from the tracks over a ploughed maize filed. He opened his window to get a better view and saw it shooting back up into the air.

The light went very high (a few hundred meters, as it was overcast) very fast before it stopped and came down again. Faan called out to JP to come and look at this strange light, but JP didn’t pay attention as he was taking down the authorization code.

The light came down again at the same fast speed it had moved before, but stopped 1 meter above the ground. It then started to bob up and down 3 to 4 times before it stopped and shot back up into the air. The light repeated this maneuver of coming down, stopping, bobbing up and down, stopping and shooting back up into the air for 4 times and appeared to be doing this in the same horizontal point.

Still moving slowly forward, the position where the light was maneuvering moved from left in front to beside them to left in the back of them. According to Faan the sighting lasted for about 2 minutes.

JP never saw the BOL. The cabin lights where on and reflecting on the insides of the windows, making observation difficult. By the time he had terminated communications with the control room, the light had shot up for the 4th time and had disappeared through the clouds. At one stage, while still talking with the control room, he did look in the direction Faan was gesturing and glimpsed a glare from above the train roof. This was probably on one of the occasions while the light was moving up into the sky.

JP stopped the train and moved back to the spot the light was maneuvering, but they couldn’t see anything else.

Faan described the BOL as a round ball about 1-2 meters in diameter, blue-gray or blue-purple, bright but not blinding. The train was making to much noise to determine any sound from the BOL.

Subsequent visits to the field on 19 and 20 September by the investigator yielded no markings on the ground. Standing in the ploughed field one can’t help but wonder what the situation would have been was there a crop on the field....

On 13 October 1998 an earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale occurred near Steelpoort, about 40km NW of Schalksrust station. According to the Geological Survey the Lydenburg/Steelpoort/Ohrigstad area has such a quake about every five years, indicative of some geological activity in the area. It is therefor possible that this BOL might have been an earthquake light*. The repetitiveness and the speed of the movements are not common in earthquake lights, but has apparently been observed.

Although it was overcast, there was no thunder activity, reducing the chances of this being ball lightning. Because of the length of the sighting the possibility of swamp gas-type of burning balls are also rather slim.

*Earthquake light: plasma like balls of light that are caused by tectonic pressure. Can persist for up to a few minutes, hover, float around and have different colors.

Copyright © 2000 [The African UFO Research Organization]. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 24, 2000.

(Article used with permission of The African UFO Research Organization)