Summary: The fax machine groaned as a ragged-edged piece of thermal paper emerged from it. In spite of having originated many thousands of miles away. the message felt as real and immediate as a tap on the shoulder. "CONFIRMED," it began. "There was a UFO crash in Salta [Argentina] around the 17th or the 18th of August 1995, and it was all covered up.
The fax machine groaned as a ragged-edged piece of thermal paper emerged from it. In spite of having originated many thousands of miles away. the message felt as real and immediate as a tap on the shoulder.
"CONFIRMED," it began. "There was a UFO crash in Salta [Argentina] around the 17th or the 18th of August 1995, and it was all covered up. The incident occurred in the vicinity of Mt. El Crestón near Metán, Salta. Thousands of people witnessed the UFO's maneuvers...it was apparently struck by air-to-air missiles by an unknown type of aircraft (triangular?) and knocked out of the sky. Hours later a small private plane flew over the crash site and it too fell to the ground. The pilot later said that source of electromagnetic energy caused his plane to crash. Subsequently, the area was cordoned off by Argentinean and foreign military personnel (NASA/Delta?), giving rise to the cover-up. We were unable to visit the site ourselves due to the great distance involved, but we learned through our contacts that strange corpses were found amid the wreckage...the craft was saucer-shaped, measuring some six hundred fifty feet across. Some rumors spoke of two hundred dead occupants, and still other rumors suggested that the vast number of corpses was sent to Mendoza and then to the U.S. by plane."
UFO researcher Guillermo Aldunati, one of Argentina's finest investigators and the author of the fax, never managed to conduct an investigation himself due to a number of circumstances (the five-hundred mile distance one of them, as the fax indicates), but the implications were enough to make anyone dizzy. Irresistible images of a thundering battle over the Pampas between improbable aircraft were soon replaced by a sinking sensation. The whole episode seemed like something out of a movie, and not even the most powerful governments in the world, nor the greatest conspiracy, could ever hide two hundred alien corpses from the public.
Nevertheless, something did in fact occur in Argentina's remote northern reaches, as evidenced by the mute testimony of the tortured landscape -- whatever it was that struck the ground tore vegetation from the ground and left deep scars on the surrounding hillsides. The impact was of such magnitude that seismometers ninety miles away from the region were set in motion.
According to information published in the press, a team of rescuers from the town of Rosario de Lerma, almost 150 miles from the crash site, set off to the area to initiate operations. "We had no idea it could be, but we went there thinking we'd find injured people," stated Pedro Olivera, the leader of the rescue team. Olivera went on to state that officials later told his group that "an object had exploded in mid-air" but would add nothing further. The rescue team visited Cerrillo, La Merced, Carril and other towns, and in each stop, found excited witnesses telling them about the uncanny celestial event, the subsequent explosion, and the rumbling of the earth beneath their feet.
Olivera's team struck pay dirt when they reached the foothills of Mt. Crestón, a nine thousand-foot peak. They found themselves staring at an alien vista of charred vegetation and scorched rocks, and in the middle of this devastation, sat a metallic object which reflected the feeble rays of the sun. The rescuers radioed their superiors, advising them that the object had been located. Without any further explanation, the authorities ordered the rescuers to advance no further and to return to their base.
But the incident does not end there: on August 18, 1995, villagers and townspeople reported seeing four wheel drive vehicles manned by English-speaking personnel speeding toward the crash site. The testimony of an anonymous technician of the National University at Salta is particularly interesting: apparently, the foreign personnel was accompanied by university staffers and technicians from the local nuclear power plant. The foreigners, according to this account, took with them chunks of a thin, metallic material resembling aluminum. The fragments allegedly "assumed a concave shape when joined" and had an unusual consistency. The anonymous university informer claims that all present were instructed to say that fragments of a meteorite had been found, and that pieces of rock should be shown to the press.
Raúl Córdoba, a Saltan journalist interviewed by Buenos Aires' Crónica newspaper on September 1, 1995 stated that "there is no doubt that we have NASA personnel here trying to conceal the truth, assisted by members of the National University at Salta, since it is already involved in the matter but refuses to publicize its involvement."
And what of the pilot mentioned in Sr. Aldunati's fax? His name was Antonio Galvagno, an experienced crop duster, conducted repeated fly-overs and landed at a number of farmsteads to interview their owners about the event. All witnesses agreed in their descriptions of the object: a very large, silvery, tubular object which exploded in the air before crashing.
As he flew his small crop duster between two hills, he noticed a long strip of burned vegetation, "as if someone had poured gasoline in a straight line and set fire to it." Galvagno landed and camped for the night, intending to visit the intriguing area the following morning. As the small plane took off the next day, something inexplicable occurred: the small twin engine craft plummeted from the sky as if it had flown into an airless vacuum. Galvagno put his six thousand hours of flight time to the test and managed to make a successful crash landing on a nearby hill.
However, this was hardly the first time that UFOs had crashed in the Salta region.
One evening in May 1978, the population of Villa Mercedes swamped its local radio station with phone calls concerning an unearthly procession of fifty UFOs across the night skies. Otto Gall, the broadcaster on duty, was able to run outside and verify the events for himself: the wedge-shaped formation of greenish-blue UFOs grew from fifty to a hundred between 10:15 p.m. and midnight.
Raúl Pérez, a sergeant at the nearby Villa Reynolds air base, reported that the objects were flying at an estimated 15,000 feet, and appeared to be soundless, oval-shaped vehicles lacking any portholes or windows. Local shortwave operators were able to pick up Chilean broadcasts from across the border which announced that an enormous fleet of "flying saucers" had just entered the area.
Further reports indicated that the aerial display was followed by an enormous detonation allegedly caused by a UFO which plummeted to the ground. The National Gendarmerie sent out its 210th Squadron to comb a vast area of wilderness comprising the localities of Baritú, Las Pavas and Los Toldos in an effort to find the crashed saucer.
One newspaper, El Tribuno, reported that the object had gone down in a gully ominously known as "Bolsón de los Fantasmas" ("The Ghostly Depths") near Sante Victoria. However, General Víctor González of the Argentinean High Command reported that the object had fallen near the town of Orán. Argentinean commandos continued the search right up to the Bolivian border, where they learned that their neighbors were also engaged in locating another downed UFO. The Bolivian government, however, refused to discuss its search.
The Bolivian Crashes
In July 1962, while the U.S. and USSR where taking their first steps into Earth's orbit, a "space capsule" landed in the Bolivian town of Ayo-Ayo, some thirty miles from the city of La Paz. The object fell into a deep ravine not far from the town, and its fall from the heavens was followed by the remarkable appearance of a feline never seen in Bolivia--a puma, which was assumed to have been disgorged by the "space capsule". The hapless feline was bludgeoned to death by the townspeople and its pelt sold to the U.S. Air Attaché, one Col. Wymer. As can be seen next, this would not be the last time that the U.S. would play a significant role.
Perhaps the best known of the crashes in landlocked Bolivia is the one which took place on May 6, 1978 near Tarija, Bolivia, where witnesses saw an object measuring some twenty feet in diameter fly over their heads and then collide into the sides of a nearby hill. The explosion was heard some fifty miles around, and the Bolivian military was immediately detached to the area to investigate. The Tarija incident was merely one of the events in a localized UFO flap which covered northern Chile and Argentina (as detailed in the previous section).The Bolivian task force reached the impact area after strong denials that NASA personnel was somehow involved with their efforts
On August 20 1979, the American embassy in La Paz was informed of the collision of another small artificial vehicle on Bolivian soil. The unknown device had crashed on a large private hacienda near the village of Buen Retiro. Gonzalo Menacho, a local farmer, attested to having seen "a fireball falling from the sky" in the early hours of August 19th. After sunrise, Menacho was surprised to see a small military airplane circling the area, as if looking for something. Accompanied by a friend, Menacho discovered a lightweight sphere made of some unknown metal, roughly three times the size of a basketball. When the men tried to retrieve the object, they were prevented from doing so by government authorities. A Bolivian Air Force colonel stated that the object was not extraterrestrial, merely "a fuel cell from a satellite." A film on the recovery effort was presented to the U.S. Air Force.
The Sky is Falling
Can near-crashes be included in a chronicle of crash/retrieval incidents? Maybe, particularly if they are as dramatic as the life and death experience lived by a group of hapless travelers driving across the foothills of the Colombian Andes.
January 9th, 1990: odontologist Ivan Naranjo and two passengers were traversing Colombia's lonely Toquila Valley at night when their vehicle, a Nissan jeep, began to experience engine trouble. The utility vehicle soon ground to a halt by the roadside as its electrical system went dead. Stranded in the middle of the Andean darkness, Naranjo was doing his best to get the vehicle in motion again when one of the passengers gasped involuntarily at what was taking place in the night sky. In the horizon, headed their way, was an amazing interplay of red, green and yellow lights which did not correspond to any atmospheric phenomenon they could identify.
In spite of their situation, the stranded humans could only look on in sheer astonishment as the array of colors lit the sky and grew closer, increasing in size as it closed the intervening distance. Within seconds, a huge disk shaped vehicle, much larger than the largest airliner, was hovering unsteadily in the blackness over their heads. The object was out of control, and to their horror, about to crash-land right on top of them.
While their instincts screamed at them to run for cover, Naranjo and his passengers found themselves paralyzed by what he characterized as "muscular sluggishness". He clearly remembers trying engage his legs into a last frantic, hopeless dash to safety before an object apparently weighing tens of thousands of tons fell on him.
Then the incredible (nay, impossible!) happened.
Out of nowhere, another massive, disk shaped craft entered the scene. Gliding into the space immediately above the dangerously wobbling craft, it fired what Naranjo described as "a dense beam of white light" at the vessel, stabilizing its erratic motion immediately. The surreal event became even more so as two ufonauts emerged from the larger craft to ostensibly perform repairs on the now-stabilized saucer. The occupants paid no attention to the shaken humans below as they performed their duties. After an unspecified period of time, the repaired saucer began spinning furiously on its axis, vanishing in a thick fog. The rescue ship (if so it was) vanished amid a powerful whirlwind that stripped earth, rocks and dust from the surface below.
Exhausted by the ordeal, the shocked humans spent a night of fitful sleep in the wilderness. But the landscape that met their eyes the following morning made them think they had awakened to a nightmare: the rocky desert gave the appearance of having been blasted by divine fire; water ponds adjacent to the highway had been turned into grim troughs of mud, and the carcasses of small desert rats and lizards littered the landscape, roasted by some form of radiation. One of the passengers would later die of an unknown malady, possibly related to the strange energies released by the alien vehicles over the Toquilla Valley. This haunting almost-crash was originally investigated by researcher Miguel Forero.
The Puebla UFO Crash
In July 1977, hundreds of awed witnesses were able to behold a number of falling unidentified flying objects, some of which were even captured on film. The mobilization of the Mexican Army over the course of the following days made many realize that something significant had indeed transpired, and rumors spread about a UFO which had collided in the mountains.
The town of Jopala, to the east of Puebla and in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico, became the target of serious research. The townspeople had allegedly seen a solid craft explode into thousands of sparks: witnesses included not only the local mayor, but also a number of schoolteachers, who had been able to retrieve pieces of a rough metal.
The most curious detail to the townspeople's story was that others had beaten them to recover the pieces of the unusual material--a group of persons who arrived by helicopter and were obviously Americans. The newsmedia would later report, as it often does, that "NASA scientists" had visited the area. More likely than not, these were members of the Air Force's secretive Moondust/Bluefly recovery teams.
Upon analysis, one of the recovered pieces of UFO debris proved to be an unusually pure alloy, unavailable to earthly technology at the time. U.S. researchers also believed that a subsequent collision had occurred in Tabasco, and that two dead alien pilots had been recovered from the wreckage. Mexican researchers were greatly annoyed at the fact that foreign investigators had obtained access to the available data before their own research teams.
Dr. Rafael A. Lara, director of Mexico's Center for the Study of Paranormal Phenomena (CEFP), looked into a more recent event: on January 28, 1996, hundreds of residents of the states of San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Querétaro, Veracruz and the Distrito Federal (Mexico City) were witnesses to an uncanny aerial display. An enormous brilliant light, changing colors from blue to yellowish-orange, green and red), crossed the skies over Mexico at an amazing speed. Eyewitnesses in Mexico City claimed that the light gave off smaller lights, a total of 7, which gradually lost speed and crashed against the slopes of the Popocatepetl volcano.
Eyewitnesses in southern Veracruz informed that this spectacular phenomenon was visible around 8:25 p.m. and immediately attracted the attention of radio stations in the city of Coatzacoalcos, Ver.. Residents of Acaycan and Oluta, also in Veracruz, were able to make out numerous colored lights in the Veracruzan skies running in a north-south direction. The townspeople of Minatitlán, Pajápan, Jesús Carranza and other communities also beheld the phenomenon.
Anthropologist Jaime Botello explained that both he and his wife, Gabriela Rodríguez, agreed that the object had been incandescent and had been followed by other objects which followed a trajectory toward the Citlatépetl volcano. Other witnesses believed that the objects in question penetrated a kind of cloud which could also be seen in the sky.
UFO Crash at Lajas?
World attention was suddenly thrust upon Puerto Rico again on May 6, 1997, when reports of a UFO crash near the town of Lajas (famous for the Laguna Cartagena incidents earlier this decade) at 3:25 a.m. erupted on the news wires and on the Internet, producing renewed interest in the island's UFO landscape, which had waned since the cessation of Chupacabras activity last year.
All accounts coincided on the fact that something had happened near Lajas, producing an intense brush fire in the habitually arid region, but the source of the fire became a bone of contention: one band of ufologists claimed that a spacecraft had hurtled out of the sky and exploded, causing the conflagration along with reports of Federal agents who denied the local police access into the area. Another ufologist appeared on television denying that there was anything to the event aside from a meteor impact which triggered the fires, and suggested that the celestial event was being manipulated by a band of government-infiltrated saucer fanatics to discredit UFO research on the island. To everyone's surprise, an astronomer took the side of the pro-UFO faction, insisting that a meteor of that magnitude would have left a tremendous crater, possibly obliterating Lajas and the neighboring towns.
On May 7, 1997, Univision's Spanish-language Primer Impacto program presented a dramatic roundup of the events surrounding the mysterious Lajas incident: the interviewers reported claims that the Army had reported to the area to collect debris from the impact site and that the consternation among the locals was clearly visible. It was also pointed out that unusually heavy UFO activity had been reported over Puerto Rico's southern tier, and that a woman from the city of Ponce had taken a video of a silvery, rhomboidal object crossing the skies.
Lucy Plá, an investigator affiliated with the Puerto Rican Research Group, based in Hato Rey, P.R., posted a radio news story to the Internet which indicated Lajas mayor Marcos Irizarry's belief that the explosion and subsequent fire had been caused by U.S. military experimentation in the area. Irizarry added in the newscast that a growing number of local residents were coming forward with accounts of a glowing object that fell from the sky, and that three distinct explosions had been heard.
An area radio station also experienced technical difficulties shortly after the detonations occurred, suggesting the possibility of EMP (electromagnetic pulse radiation). The San Juan Star (the island's only English-language newspaper) briefly mentioned that one resident, Francisco Negrón, said the fire burned with an unusual redness, which almost bordered on the supernatural. Tipping its hat toward the non-meteoric theory, the U.S. Coast Guard suggested that "an airplane crash" may have occurred at that time.
While those interested in the matter are strongly cautioned to err on the side of skepticism, any meteor that can cause three distinct explosions heard by dozens of witnesses and disrupt a radio station is certainly more mysterious than any UFO.