The truth is out there: classified reports of UFO sightings are finally made public

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The Independent Online
DETAILS OF Britain's most recent UFO sightings are revealed in previously secret documents disclosed to The Independent.

The government files, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that, last year, the Ministry of Defence's special UFO unit received 88 reports from military staff and members of the public concerned about unexplained objects in our skies.

The classified files help to complete a picture of the scale of UFO sightings first revealed by this paper last month.

These updated "X-files" show the most recent observations were made on 15 January this year following two separate reports from Chatteris, Cambridgeshire and Whitstable, Kent. The reports refer to "strange lights seen in the sky".

Other sightings give more detail. A report from Devizes in Wiltshire on 24 September last year records an object that: "Looked liked a big ball of fire coming down from the sky with a tail and sparks coming off the end of it." While another from Somerset the week before states: "The object looked like a great bright light and was really intense, like a ball of fire coming down from the sky, rapidly moving towards the ground."

Although such reports might be discounted as meteor showers or some other astronomical phenomena, other sightings are not so easy to dismiss. A report from Surrey on 20 May last year describes a UFO as having "grooves and windows" but no room for humans. Even the MoD inspector notes that the "witness had seen the object so clearly".

Many of the other sightings refer to UFO's changing colour, speed and shape.

The most common colours are yellow, orange or black.

A report from Goole in East Yorkshire recorded in April last year noted: "The object looked like a boomerang and was stationary over a power station. An aircraft was circling the object."

In the same month, a UFO observer from Seaforth, Merseyside, noted: "I saw a UFO with a cluster of four bright lights in a ring shape on it. Three beams of white light shone upwards and then disappeared."

These latest files to be unclassified by the MoD are not as complete as reports from mid 1976 and 1977 released last month. Hundreds of documents previously kept secret by the Ministry of Defence's special UFO department, known as S4F, detail many credible reports of a possible visit by extraterrestrial life-forms.

One is made by an RAF pilot and two NCOs at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland. In some cases, the witness is identified in the report.

In July 1977 Flt Lt A M Wood reported "bright objects hanging over the sea''. The MoD document adds that the RAF officer said the closest object was "luminous, round and four to five times larger than a Whirlwind helicopter". The UFOs were reported to be three miles out to sea at a height of about 5,000ft.

The officer, whose report is supported by Cpl Torrington and Sgt Graham, said: "The objects separated. Then one went west of the other, as it manoeuvred it changed shape to become body-shaped with projections like arms and legs." The men who were positioned at the picket post at the RAF station were able to observe the strange objects for an hour and 40 minutes.

At the same time, a radar station detected the objects in the same position as the pilots had observed them. It registered them to be on a heading of between 30 to 35 degrees before they left the screen.

The report describes Flt Lt Wood as "reliable and sober". It adds: "Two contacts were noted on radar, both T84 and T85, at RAF Boulmer. They were also seen on the Staxton Wold radar picture which is relayed to West Drayton ... On seeing the objects on radar, the duty controller checked with the SRO at RAF West Drayton as to whether he could see the objects on radar supplied from RAF Staxton Wold."

That account was deemed so sensitive to the national interest that the MoD had delayed its release for an extra three years. But under the Freedom of Information Act, which came into force on 1 January, the file has been reviewed and declassified.

Some of the other reports are equally compelling. A British Airways TriStar on a return flight from Portugal in July 1976 was involved in an intriguing incident that led to the scrambling of fighter jets.

The MoD report says that the TriStar captain reported "four objects - two round brilliant white, two cigar-shaped" 18 miles north of Faro. The captain was so alarmed by what he and the passengers had seen that he reported the sighting to air traffic controllers at Lisbon and Heathrow. The report says that fighters were immediately scrambled from Lisbon but found nothing, it seems.

Shortly afterwards another TriStar crew on the same flight path reported a similar unexplained sighting. This time they said there was a "bright object with two con trails" between Fatima and Faro. It remained stationary before moving north and then "changing in length".

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