The American fighter P-51 Mustang abruptly began to lose altitude. The wings and tail fell off and flew hundreds of meters away, and the hull turned into a pile of metal when it fell. Air Force capital and pilot Thomas Mantell died. But why? And is there a connection between the fall and the pursuit of a UFO?
The story began on January 7, 1948 at 13:45. Calls from Fort Knox began to arrive at Godman Air Force Base (Kentucky), the staff of which reported an unknown flying object. The main operator replied that they also saw an object that looked like a “red ice cream cone”.
At 2:20 pm, 4 fighters flew in the direction of the object. Captain Mantell received orders to pursue a UFO. The pilot began to climb, two more fighters joined him, and the fourth returned to the base due to lack of fuel.
At an altitude of 4.3 km, Mantell reported:
“The object is now directly in front of me and a little higher. Moves twice as fast as my speed ”
Three fighters climbed to a height of 6.7 km. Air at high altitude becomes discharged, and the pilots were forced to use oxygen masks. Two fighters interrupted the chase, because their oxygen reserves were running out. But Mantell decided that his oxygen reserve was enough and continued to fly.
At 15:15 a message was heard from Mantella in the tower:
“It seems to be a glowing metal object. Or the sunlight is reflected from the metal surface. The size is huge ... I still rise, but the object is taller than me and moves faster. I close my eyes all the time because the light blinds ... ”.
Then there were clicks and the signal disappeared. At 15:50 the tower lost sight of the UFO. At 5:00 pm, the remains of the Mantella plane were found scattered on the surface of a farm field. The Air Force report said that Mantell may have lost consciousness due to lack of oxygen at an altitude of 7.6 km. The plane will continue to rise to the maximum height, and then began to fall sharply. Mantell could regain consciousness, but it was too late and he crashed.
The explanation seems logical, but the ufologists wondered: “Who was the pilot chasing?”. What was this bright metallic object that moved faster than a fighter? And this is not a fiction pilot, because UFOs were seen immediately from three fighters and on the radar of the Godman Tower.
It was suggested that the UFO pilots were tired of the pursuit, and they simply shot down the fighter. There were even rumors about the radioactivity of the remains found, but they were not confirmed. Scientists have proposed several versions.
Perhaps it was the planet Venus, in the image of which UFOs are often seen. But here it is impossible, because the object was moving quickly, and it was fixed on the radar. They assumed that it was a weather probe, but Mantell described a large object, and the weather balls were small.
Professor Donald Menzel considered that it was about parahelium - a reflection of sunlight from ice crystals at high altitude. And again it does not converge, because the object was seen in several places and at different heights.
A few years later, another theory emerged. At that time, the navy was developing a secret program that used large balloons at an altitude of 18.2 km. Perhaps Mantell was chasing one of the balls. But where does the brilliance and description of the metal surface come from? The 1948 incident is still a mystery.