Britain reveals close encounters of the weird kind

October 20th, 2008 - 5:26 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 20 (IANS) The British defence ministry has released hitherto-secret files revealing a string of unexplained UFO sightings, including a near-miss encounter between a passenger jet and a brown missile-shaped object. Nineteen files containing details of a host of unexplained close encounters with and sightings of UFOs between 1986 and 1992 have been made available online by the National Archives - with another 200 expected to be released over the next four years.

While the files include predictable letters from people claiming to be aliens, there is also a more reliable American Air Force pilot’s account of being ordered to shoot down a UFO that appeared on his radar while he flew over the East Anglia region of Britain.

And there is a defence ministry request for army and navy helicopters not to take photographs of crop circles because of the official line that the military did not investigate unexplained phenomena.

The most puzzling brush concerns an Alitalia flight that set off from Milan, Italy, for London’s Heathow airport on April 21, 1991, with 57 passengers.

As the McDonnell Douglas MD80 aircraft was flying over Lydd in Kent, coming in to land at Heathrow at around 8 p.m., captain Achille Zaghetti saw a brown missile-like object some 1,000 ft above him.

“At once I said, ‘look out, look out,’ to my co-pilot, who looked out and saw what I had seen,” he recalled.

“As soon as the object crossed us I asked the ACC (area control centre) operator if he saw something on his screen and he answered ‘I see an unknown target 10 nm (nautical miles) behind you’.”

Radar images showing the UFO were initially labelled “cruise missile??” but it was quickly established it was not a military weapon.

The defence ministry concluded that the object had not come from the army firing ranges in the Lydd area and that there was no known “space-related activity” that night. Weather balloons were also dismissed.

An unnamed government official wrote of the incident: “It is our intention to treat this sighting like that of any other unidentified flying object and therefore we will not be undertaking further investigation.”

The sighting remains unsolved to this day, the files reveal.

However, on the same evening, a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) document notes that Southern TV broadcast a news item about a 14-year-old boy’s reported sighting of a missile flying at low level before disappearing through the clouds.

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