June 30, 1957
The NICAP document describes this episode briefly in section X:
June 30, 1957. An airliner en route from Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro, at 6:30 p.m., en- countered a glowing red-orange disc-like object. Capt. Saul Martins later told the press the UFO maneuvered all around the DC-3, pacing it, flying above and below it. One of the many pas- sengers who also witnessed the object was a renowned Brazilian writer, Prof. Aires de Mata Machado Filho.1
The source of this report is July 7th edition of the newspaper, Diairo Popular
Looking for supporting information
What bothers me most of many UFO documents is how they can take one piece of infor-
mation and inflate it into something bigger than it was. Sometimes critical informa-
tion is left out. In this case, I could not find any additional information other than this one
document. Keyhoe writes about it briefly in his book, The flying saucer conspiracy (page
94), but gives the date as July 7th, which is the date of the newspaper article and not the actual event. Weinstein sources Keyhoe and NICAP. He also sources Richard Haines, who appears to have sourced NICAP. Therefore, the entire case rests of the one newspa- per article, where the actual source was not even directly quoted.
In an attempt to see if others might have some information, I inquired to Kentaro Mori, who has been away from UFOlogy for some time. I was hoping he might shed some light from his sources in South America. The only thing he noted was that the name of the writer was incorrect. It is actually Prof. Aires da Mata Machado Filho and he appears to have never written about this event. Beyond that I received no additional information about this sighting. It appears that the sole source for this “important” bit of evidence is this news paper article.
One of the reasons, I selected this case was because I stumbled across an article in Sky and Telescope, where the actual source of the UFO may have been documented. The November 1957 edition of Sky and Telescope documents a spectacular daylight fireball between 5 and 5:30 PM local time. From Belo Horizonte, the fireball was visible from an angle of 50 degrees elevation travel- ing “downward” towards Ibitira with an azimuth of 293 degrees (see diagram below). According to Vincent Menzes, “The fireball was seen as a reddish, egg shaped, body, which became silvery in color, but I think the latter hue was seen after disintegration.” 2
The fireball was visible all over the region making it as a potential candidate for this sighting. It is hard to ignore the coincidence of this spectacular event occurring within about an hour of the reported time of the sighting.
Fireballs as UFOs
The reporting of fireball meteors as UFOs is nothing new. A daylight fireball is a dramatic event and can leave quite the impres- sion on observers. In his book, UFOs Explained, Phil Klass describes a daylight fireball event that startled pilots flying in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. All thought the fireball was much closer than it was and some reported that the fireball changed course at the last minute to avoid a collision.
Based on this information, is it that much of a stretch to suggest the time in “Diario Popular” might have been off by an hour and that the air crew may have seen the fireball? Does one newspaper clipping really count as evidence that UFOs are “manifestations of extraterrestrial life”?3 I classify this case as “Insufficient information” or “possible meteor” . It should be removed from the lists of “Best evidence”.
Notes and references
1. Hall, Richard M. (Ed.) The UFO evidence. The National Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). New York: Barnes and Noble. 1997. P. 120.
2. Menezes, Vincent. “A probable meteorite fall in Brazil”. Sky and Telescope. Cambridge, Mass.: Sky publishing corp. November, 1957. P. 10.
3. Hall, Richard M. (Ed.) The UFO evidence. The National Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). New York: Barnes and Noble. 1997. P. 179.
Quelle: SUNlite 5/2014