Archive for February, 2010
The Ely UFO Crash: Nevada’s Roswell
ELY, NV – Visit Roswell, New Mexico, even Rachel, Nevada, a stop on Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway, and you’ll find both proudly claim a spot in UFO history. You won’t find that in Ely, Nevada, but maybe you should.
If you google Ely and UFO you’ll immediately find a link to flying saucer legend and lore. It appears in every listing of a supposed crash of an unidentified flying object.
Nearly six decades ago, it is claimed a UFO crashed near Ely. That’s nearly the whole story. You’ll find a date: August 14, 1952 and 16 bodies recovered.
That’s the highest body count claimed for any UFO crash anywhere by the way. Both claims consistent on all listings, but no other details.
We first heard this story in November when we journeyed to Ely chasing the claims of fresh sightings in eastern Nevada. Out of curiousity we started looking for more. We weren’t the first. A few years ago Kent Harper of the Ely Times came across the same reference and asked his readers if any could shed any light on the account. He didn’t get a lot of feedback. Years later, he says, he hasn’t learned much more.
“I even went down to Rachel and talked with some folks down there,” he says, “but it just seems to have been on the internet forever and no one adds to it, no one deletes from it.”
Harper wouldn’t have found any clues in the files of his own paper. We checked the microfilm on the Ely Times from August of 1952 in three different libraries with the same result. The issue from August 15th, when any such event would have been reported, is missing.
That’s enough to jump start the musings of any conspiracy theorist worth the title, but finally in the White Pine County Library we found perhaps the only remaining copy of the August 15th issue.
On the front page: a baseball tournament, an approaching festival, news from the Korean War, even a planned flyover by Air Force bombers. Nothing that could give rise to a rumor of a UFO crash. Mention any of this nearly six decades later to anyone on the street here and you’ll likely get a puzzled stare and a shrug.
So this incident whatever it was, if it was, does not play a prominent role in local memory, but if you start asking questions stories do emerge. The stories from the ’50s are now third hand, but the most intriguing links the crash story to a spot just west of Ely along Highway 50 called Copper Flat.
Mary Sorenson is a lifelong resident and local historian of White Pine County. Growing up here she heard no stories of UFO crashes, but a few years ago, looking for material for a collection of local ghost stories, she came across the same information we did and mentioned it to a longtime resident, who said he had heard it first hand from a close friend, a respected security guard working for the nearby copper mine. “He told my friend he witnessed a UFO crash and the government swore him to secrecy, that he was not to divulge to anyone.”
A UFO crash, not a plane crash?
“A UFO crash is what he said.”
The man, by all accounts, a responsible, respected member of the community took whatever else he might have known including the exact location to the grave.
Ironically years after the reported crash, this location would have a unrelated connection to aerospace. In 1959, NASA located a tracking station on Kimberly Mountain overlooking Copper Flat, part of Project High Range, to track the flights of the X-15 rocket plane. The empty building still stands amidst a collection of communication sites.
As a 12 year old staying with his grandparents in East Ely that same summer of 1952, Claude House says he and others in the neighborhood had their own close encounter. At 4 in the morning, a bright object lit up the sky above the house, letting out a low hum. Neighbors gathered and watched, joined by a deputy and the sheriff himself.
“I seen what I seen and I know I’m not crazy,” insists House. Over a number of minuites maybe a dozen people witnessed the object, he says.. “And they agreed. It was a UFO.”
A few days later he recalls a dinner table conversation, the adults talking about a crash.
“They said a few of their friends from Kennecott went there to see what they could, see if any stuff that might be lying around and it was blocked off and it was a light plane crash.”
We’ve been unable to verify any incident involving an aircraft of any type near Ely or anything else that would morph into a reported crash of a UFO. So, inevitably we are left with a mystery. Where did this story come from? It’s a question without an answer and likely to remain that way. The coldest of cold cases in the UFO file.
CRASHED: Steve Fossett
Posted Sunday January 3, 2010 at Express.co.uk
By Stuart Winter
A MYSTERIOUS area of Nevada where thousands of planes have disappeared without trace may finally have given up its secret.
So many aircraft have vanished there that it has been nicknamed the Nevada Triangle, echoing the so-called Bermuda Triangle, an ocean zone infamous for the loss of ships and planes.
No one knows exactly how many flights have vanished inside the Nevada Triangle over the past 60 years.
Crash sites are seldom discovered in the remote wasteland of desert and mountain, which stretches across more than 25,000 square miles of virtually-uninhabited country.
But speculation is that the total is more than 2,000.
Conspiracy theorists have long claimed the reason so many flights have disappeared is connected to the presence in the area of America’s most guarded tract of landscape – Area 51, the top secret air base where it has been claimed the bodies of alien pilots from crashed UFOs are kept in deep-frozen storage.
The US Air Force also tests its most secret prototype aircraft, including the mysterious superfast Aurora, inside Area 51 protected by squadrons of fighter aircraft primed to shoot down any suspicious intruders.
The truth about the crashes however is far more prosaic. Record-breaking aviator Steve Fossett vanished inside the Nevada Triangle in September, 2007.
At first, theories surrounding millionaire Fossett’s disappearance included the idea that he had faked his own death, the suggestion that he had been shot down by top secret aircraft inside Area 51 or even the claim he had been abducted by aliens.
But when Fossett’s aircraft was eventually discovered more than a year after it disappeared, experts were able to piece together the most likely reason for the crash.
A new Channel Four documentary explores what apparently happened to the pilot after he set off on in a single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon on what friends thought was a short joy flight. He was never seen alive again. Far from being the victim of aliens or super-secret aircraft, the cause of his death and of the inordinate number of crashes in the area was simply freak weather.
The Triangle’s strange geography and climate create unique atmospheric conditions which can rip aircraft from the skies.
A combination of fast-moving Pacific winds and steep mountainsides produces a phenomenon called the Mountain Wave, a roller-coaster effect that can send aircraft soaring up and then bring it crashing down to earth.
With much of the Sierra Nevada over 5,000ft and some peaks reaching 14,000ft, air-fuel mixture can also become so thin that engine power fails even in low-level flight.
In Fossett’s case it is thought climatic conditions had created a 400mph downdraft. His aircraft could climb at a maximum speed of only 300mph. The difference meant he was doomed.
Air accident expert Craig Fuller says besides hundreds of vanished light aircraft, the area has also seen crashes involving many military warplanes like B-24 Liberators, B-17 Flying Fortresses and P-38 Lightnings.
Fuller, who works for the voluntary Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research group, cannot say how many aircraft have gone missing while flying over the area.
“I cannot give you exact numbers. No one knows, not even the government agencies,” he said.
But he has visited more than 75 crash sites and with the help of air historian John Lopez he has been able to study many of flights that went missing in the same area as Fossett’s plane.
One of the stories regarding the Triangle dates back to 1943 when a B-24 bomber crashed in the mountains. Co-pilot Lieutenant Robert Hester’s father, Clinton, was determined to find the plane.
“He basically spent every summer in the Sierras looking for his son,” Fuller said.
Clinton died without having found any trace. But in 1960, a year later, a survey team found the bomber in a remote lake. It’s now known as Hester Lake.
Fuller cited another example, that of Lt Leonard C Lydon who parachuted to safety in 1941 after his Army fighter squadron got lost over the mountains.
He saw his P-40 fall within a mile of where he landed in the remote Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
But to this day the wreckage has never been found.
The Mystery of the Nevada Triangle aired in the UK on Channel Four.