Official file fails to debunk 1978 Australian UFO incident

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Unlike a myriad other UFO sightings at the time, the claims of 20-year-old pilot Frederick Valentich could not easily be dismissed as a hoax. Unlike others who said they had seen strange lights or craft in the sky, Valentich was mid-way through a detailed and recorded description of his sighting when he disappeared forever over Bass Strait.

ufomyst“It is not an aircraft it is . . . ,” an air-traffic control transcript records Valentich as saying at 7.09 and 28 seconds on the evening of 21 October 1978. Valentich was part-way through a seven-minute conversation with Melbourne air traffic control about the craft.

At 7.10pm and 20 seconds, Valentich said: “What I am doing right now is orbiting and the thing is just orbiting on top of me also it has a green light and sort of metallic, it’s all shiny (on) the outside.” A long metallic clanging sound marked the end of the transmission and the beginning of a long battle to have all records of the disappearance made public.

Now a chance discovery of the official file on the disappearance appears to have eliminated the popular theory at the time that Valentich had staged an elaborate hoax disappearance of his single-engine aircraft. …

Adelaide researcher Keith Basterfield has been following the case since the disappearance in 1978, but had been told by the Government in 2004 the official file had been lost or destroyed. He “found” it when searching through an online National Archives index on an unrelated topic. The file has since been digitised and uploaded on the archive’s website. …

Most significantly, investigators leave the possibility of a UFO encounter open. Mr Basterfield points out it was investigators, not Valentich or the media, who took the pilot’s description of the object and labelled it an Unidentified Flying Object. …

“The only thing we can say for sure is that the plane and pilot disappeared while he was describing a UFO – which is one of those things that just makes people wonder,” Mr Basterfield says.

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