U.S. fighter pilot: 'I was ordered to fire 24 rockets at UFO flying over East Anglia'October 24, 2008
The Daily Mail
Former US Air Force fighter pilot Milton Torres is convinced he had an encounter with an alien spaceship in the skies over England in the 1950s.
He was warned to keep quiet about the incident, but eventually talked about it 31 years later, the newly-released Ministry of Defence files show.
On the night of May 20 1957, Dr Torres, then aged 25, was on standby at RAF Manston in Kent when he received an urgent order to scramble.
He was told to intercept a UFO with "very unusual flight patterns" over East Anglia that ground radar operators had been tracking for some time.
It was so cloudy he could not see anything, but the object showed up clearly on his radar as similar in size to a B-52 bomber.
He was then ordered to fire a full salvo of 24 rockets at the object - something that came as a sobering shock to him.
But before he could carry out this instruction the UFO suddenly darted off and disappeared from his scope in a matter of seconds.
The next day a man claiming to be from the US National Security Agency threatened him with losing his flying status if he told anyone what happened.
Dr Torres, now 77 and living in Miami, Florida, said he was flying at about Mach 0.92, while the UFO was travelling at over Mach 10.
He said: "I think it was an alien spacecraft. It had a propulsion system that was beyond us - either magnetism or anti-gravity."
Until 1967 the MoD had a policy of destroying UFO files every five years because they were considered of "transitory interest".
This means the incident could have vanished without a trace had Dr Torres not been moved to mention it at a USAF veterans reunion in 1988.
The retired civil engineering professor urged people with more information about the strange encounter to come forward.
"There are people who are still alive on Earth who know about this. I'm talking about the RAF, USAF, whatever," he said.
Dr David Clarke, a UFO expert and journalism lecturer, suspects the US military may have been testing a top-secret machine designed to project phantom aircraft on to Soviet radar.
"I think the most likely explanation is that he was basically a pawn in some sort of exercise involving electronic spoofing warfare," he said.
But Dr Torres remains convinced what he saw on the radar came from beyond our solar system, insisting: "This is something that's not man-made."
Secret MoD documents released for the first time also show how the captain of Flight AZ 284 had a similar close encounter to Milton Torres.
As the pilot began his descent into Heathrow, he saw something alarming overhead.
Shaped like a missile, the object suddenly veered across the airliner's path causing the pilot to shout 'Look out!' as he attempted to avert a mid-air collision 22,000ft above the Kent countryside.
Travelling at an estimated 120mph, it passed less than 1,000ft from the passenger jet before disappearing from radar screens, leaving the pilot and accident investigators baffled.
The documents reveal that Ministry of Defence staff accept that an Unidentified Flying Object zooming above Lydd caused the near miss.
The incident took place at 7.58pm on April 21, 1991, and was investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority and military experts.
Having ruled out the possibility of it being a missile, weather balloon or space rocket, the MoD was forced to conclude that it was a genuine UFO and close the inquiry.
The unexplained close encounter is one of many recounted in military UFO documents released today by the National Archives.
The Alitalia aircraft was on a routine flight from Milan to Heathrow with 57 people on board when the ten-foot long object, which had no exhaust flame, was spotted by pilot Achille Zaghetti.
He told accident investigators: 'I saw for about 3.4 seconds a flying object, very similar to a missile, light brown coloured.
'At once I said, "Look out, look out" to my co-pilot, who saw what I had seen.
'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 10nm ( nautical miles) behind you".'
At 10.25pm that night there was a report to Brentwood police in Essex of a dark flying object in the sky which had no engine noise or lights.
Southern TV also broadcast a story about a 14-year-old boy who reported seeing a missile flying at low level before climbing through the cloud and disappearing on the same evening.
Radar images of the object showed that the UFO was initially labelled 'cruise missile??' but checks on Army firing ranges and U.S. and British naval ships established that it was not a military weapon or 'space related' activity.
On July 2 a secret MoD report concluded: 'These departments have not been able to confirm the identity of the object sighted by the Alitalia crew.
'In the absence of any clear evidence which could be used to identify the object, it is our intention to treat this sighting like that of any other Unidentified Flying Object and therefore we will not be undertaking any further investigation into the sighting.'
Other incidents recorded in military files the same year include a 'wingless projectile' seen on June 17, 1991.
Four passengers on board a Boeing 737 saw it pass beneath the airliner as it climbed from Gatwick Airport headed for Hamburg.
Gatwick air traffic controllers were alerted but said they were 'unaware of anything unusual occurring at that time'.
A weather balloon had been released in the area around this time, but the description and timing did not match the wingless object, according to military files.
On July 15 the crew of a Britannia Airways 737 descending into Gatwick at 14,000ft reported seeing a 'small black lozenge-shaped object' travelling at high speed just 100 yards from the aircraft.
Air traffic control confirmed a 'primary contact' visible on the radar ten nautical miles behind the 737 travelling at 120mph.
Immediately air traffic controllers warned a following aircraft to turn left to avoid the object, although the pilot said he never saw it.
An investigation completed in April 1992 was unable to explain the incident but suggested the unidentified object could have been an escaped balloon.
The files are available online for the first time at ufos.nationalarchives.gov.uk.