Uruguay: The Salto UFO was "Space Junk"
Source: El Pais Digital (Uruguay)
Uruguay: The Salto UFO Was “Space Junk”
By Luis A. Perez – Salto
Explanation given: NASA states debris was the remains of a U.S. rocket launched in 2003
“A luminous fleet” is how some witnesses described it. The photo was published in El Pueblo de Salto newspaper, where the reporter who took it is employed. The Uruguayan Air Force dispelled the mystery – it was “space junk”, the remains of a U.S. rocket.
“Remains of one of the stages of a Delta II rocket launched in 2003 from Cape Canaveral.” That was the explanation given by the Uruguayan Air Force after a quick investigation of the phenomenon’s visual record, which was made known in Salto on Sunday.
The image of an unidentified flying object - captured by a photojournalist at 23:00 hours in the vicinity of Zanja Gorda – became an element for study by the members of the Comisión Receptora e Investigadora de Denuncias de Objetos Voladores No Identificados (CRIDOVNI – Uruguay’s sanctioned UFO research body). The author of the photo, Luis Massarino, was also brought in for questioning. But NASA’s information was the key: the sighting’s narrative coincides with the official data furnished by the United States space agency: on that day, at that time, latitude and altitude, the re-entry of fragments of a Delta II rocket launched 8 years ago was anticipated.
Massarino, linked to Diario El Pueblo and whose work has sometimes been featured in EL PAIS, mainly in its sports pages, took the photo in an entirely fortuitous manner. He happened to be fishing at night in Zanja Honda, 50 kilometers north of the city. He was only able to press the shutter once to capture the movement of a “luminous fleet’ moving from West to East.
“There were five of us at the campsite. Suddenly, the site’s owner and one of my kids looked skyward, shouting for me to look at those lights in the sky. I looked up and saw what looked like a train pulling railcars, with more lights of an intense violet hue. I ran to the pickup truck to grab my camera and document the image,” Massarino told EL PAIS. At that time they were getting ready to roast a dorado (fish) over the coals.
He notes that the urgency and prevailing darkness kept him from noticing that the equipment was on automatic and he could therefore not focus. “When I realized this, I switched to manual and 3200 ASA, causing me to lose an tremendous amount of time. I was able to take a single photo, which was the one at the exact moment, because it truly did startle me.”
He told EL PAIS that in spite of having covered numerous stories involving spacecraft landings or fly-overs at Establecimiento La Aurora in Salto, he never thought that he’d have an experience like the one on Wednesday.
Another eyewitness account, from a reader of El Pueblo, describes the phenomenon as: “Aligned luminous objects. The brightest of them looked broken and in flames, and the ones at the head of the caravan weren’t so bright, but they seemed to be smaller in size.”
“A 100% conventional phenomenon” - the report issued by the Uruguayan Air Force’s Comisión Receptora e Investigadora de Denuncias sobre Objetos Voladores No Identificados reads thus: “This Commission, after having analyzed the main witness’s story, the photograph presented and the information regarding space junk, concludes that the lights seen in flight by various witnesses from the Department of Salto on the evening of Wednesday, March 2 (2011) correspond to the re-entry of the remains of one of the stages of the Delta II booster launched in 2003 by the United States from Cape Canaveral. Therefore, there exists the 100% likelihood that it is a conventional phenomenon.”
(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to TresUFOs-Piriápolis)