Argentina: Researching a UFO Crash in General Campos
Source: AIM Digital (http://www.aimdigital.com.ar)
Argentina: Researching a UFO Crash in General Campos
The VISION OVNI team is looking into an event that occurred in the late 1980s known as the “Campo Grande Crash” which caused great commotion in the province of Entre Rios. The Director of the Comisión de Estudios del Fenómeno Ovni de la República Argentina (CEFORA), Andrea Pérez Simondini, added: “it was a resonant case, very near the town where governor Sergio Uribarri served as intendant in 1985."
In a dialogue with this news agency, the researcher stated that in the early morning hours of 21 December 1978 at 02:00 AM, “local residents were startled awake by a loud explosion and the deafening howling of dogs. Looking outside, many saw an incandescent object traveling from east to west, leaving behind multiple metal fragments that fell on Estancia San José in the locality of General Campos, province of Entre Rios. It was later known that the object was seen in Córdoba and in Santa Fe, tracing an imaginary straight line west of General Campos.”
Americo Navarro and Amelia de Navarro were eyewitnesses in the province of Cordoba. “It was three o’clock in the morning, and since I couldn’t sleep, I gazed at the window, amazed by the phenomenon made up of three objects identical to each other, which I would compare to horizontally placed tanks, but without peaks, with slight ovular shapes on their upper and lower sections, joined one to the other, like a little train,” Américo explained.
The man was startled by the colors surrounding the objects: “The object itself was light green, with an intense yellow luminosity that became gradually clearer. By the time the phenomenon occupied two squares of my window grate, I woke up my wife, who saw the same thing as I. To better follow its trajectory, I got out of bed and looked through the window grate, seeing [the object] progressing with the same speed it had at the start, losing itself in the distance without any changes in altitude, color or direction, remaining as it did at the start, from west to east.”
Another eyewitness statement came from Armando Poletti, a traveling salesman, who a 2:55 a.m. on that very same 21 December was driving in his car from Rafaela to Santa Fe. “My attention was drawn by something happening the sky. Two strange luminous objects were giving off an orange-colored light, traveling at high speed.”
Furthermore, drivers for the General Urquiza company heading for Gualeguaychú witnessed the same scene, and while most passengers slept, they were awakened to see the phenomenon, being able to witness the maneuvers of the objects in the skies over that locality.
“They developed a tremendous speed without making any sort of noise,” said passengers Alonso Lobato and María Inés Sirimarco. A couple from La Francia (Cordoba) headed for Angélica (Santa Fe) stopped their car along the road to see the objects fly past; Ariel Fabré, driving along Route 20 from Chepes (La Rioja to Salsacate (Córdoba) also witnessed the objects’ passing.
The Remains at Estancia San José
Ramón Acosta was one of the main protagonists of what took place in Estancia San José, located in Lucas Noreste (Department of Villaguay). He was preparing “mate” before going out to tour the rice fields belonging to Santiago Ferrari and never thought he would become the main witness to the case.
In his story, Acosta explained that the dogs were very restless and barked ceaselessly, drawing his attention. He went out of the ranch house and instinctively looked at the sky, looking two very luminous objects flying by at high speed toward Salto, Uruguay. “One of the objects appeared to be falling,” said the worker.
A few kilometers away, the field’s owner, a man surnamed Ferrari, was leaving his house to plow the field with tractor operator Miguel Angel Romero, but he had not quite reached the tractor when he heard a powerful explosion. “It came from above and made me look up,” he admitted. “I thought an airplane in flight had exploded. I saw a tremendous glow of various colors followed by several more attenuated explosions until everything became silent again. I saw many little lights falling, as though emanating from a giant sparkler. I went into my house to tell my wife about it, as she was now seated on the bed, awakened by the explosion. I started working at 3:30 a.m., and around 7:00 a.m., when the sun was up, I saw something shining in front of the tractor. I thought it might be a bottle or a wet lump of soil, but as I approached I saw it was incandescent. It turned out to be a chunk of metal that I placed in the back of the tractor, aided by two pieces of wood. I later learned that many others fell in neighboring fields, but after collecting them, the farmhands dumped them in the pastures and streams. The majority of them fell in San Salvador.”
Pérez Simondini explains that they got in touch with Santiago Ferrari by phone. “He was resting due to a recent illness. We are in contact with a relative who confirmed all the events, and was willing to give us a personal interview and furnish more details.” Nora Susana Baez, owner of a farmhouse in the vicinity of San José, “was another major witness that evening. It was hot and she couldn’t sleep, and remained in the swimming pool. For this reason she was able to hear the explosion and see the lights falling to earth. Some remains also fell in her farmhouse.”
The chunks that fell in Estancia San José “were recovered and made available to Diario El Heraldo in Concordia. We held in our hands one of the fragments of the flying object that crossed the airspace of General Campos on the morning of 21 December 1979. It is a metal plate 14 cm wide, 12 cm in diameter at its narrowest, and two millimeters thick. The edges are melted, as though burned by a welder’s torch.”
The Testimony of Carlos Liebermann, Former Editor of El Heraldo
As contained in the library of El Heraldo newspaper, the late Carlos Liebermann, who was the newspaper’s editor at the time, agreed that “the metal was very hard, with burned edges, molten, and torn away by the explosion in some sections. The surface had slight traces of paint against atmospheric friction. There were also traces of rust. Our personal impression is that these are the remains of the heat shield of some satellite launching booster, although we always have the illusion that it could be a strange object. We could only recover this piece. The rest were discarded by farmhands.
Enrique O. Sdrech published an excellent article on the subject with photos by José Casal in Revista R2000 (3 January 1978), showing the parts before they were taken away by Air Force officers.
Liebermann contacted the Argentinean Air Force, and around the time, stirred the curiosity of Brigadier Gen. Rubens Omar Graffigna, who perhaps due to the importance of this General Campos case, may have promoted an area within the Comision Nacional de Investigaciones Espaciales (CNIE), an agency of the FAA.
The ufologist states that “the commission was entrusted to captains Carlos Augusto Lima and Elanio Rodriguez and operated until 1987. At the time, they decided to send an aeronautical engineer, Juan Jose Mañé, a member of the wind energy department, and 1st lieutenant Roberto Hugo Vazquez, chief of the electronics department of the CNIE, to collect the fragments from Liebermann. They made some brief statements, confirming that the metal did not come from an atmospheric balloon launched by the Air Force to conduct atmospheric studies, noting that it was a very hard alloy, resistant to high temperatures and to friction produced by contact with the atmosphere. Official sources suggested that these could be fragments of satellites in orbit around the planet, disintegrating upon completing their useful life.
Perez Simondini adds that the “officers did not allow themselves to be photographed, and after taking the fragment, nothing more was ever heard from them, much less about the reports with the results.” She explains, however, that they located engineer Mañé, who believes that “after 35 years, perhaps the truth will come to light. We will soon furnish details on this investigation. Having been part of the UFO division of the CNIE, an agency of the Argentine Air Force, we understand that a file on this event can become public knowledge.”
More Journalistic Reports
Siete Dias magazine contacted officers of the Argentine Air Force, who noted that the fragment, commonly known as the “manija de puerta” (doorhandle) was made of a very strong alloy resistant to atmospheric friction. They further added that the fragment did not form part of an airplane or weather balloon, although they did not explain what it was. A biochemist from the city of Concordia performed acid tests, confirming that these had no effect upon the metal.
Pérez Simondini opines that in cases such as this “the role played by the press is very important, since it not only reports, but also becomes a participant in discovering what it is all about. El Heraldo de Concordia was involved in this case, and it opened its doors to us to commence this investigation thanks to its current editor, Roberto Caminos, who has been following the work of Vision Ovni and the Museo del Ovni, aside from his own beliefs about the subject, but showing respect for the seriousness and professionalism with which we work.”
The researcher provided AIM a photo showing the moment in which Caminos gave them an original issue of El Heraldo’s publication, containing the facts. “Many other witnesses were located thanks to that article. We are pushing ahead with this investigation, searching for fragments that may still be in the hands of people who took part in collecting them.”
CEFORA’s director believes “this is a historical case, basically for the Province of Entre Rios, and was perhaps the push behind the creation of a UFO division within the Comision de Investigacioens Espaciales of the Argentinean Air Force. What we know for sure is that the matter was studied, investigated and analyzed by official authorities. Now we are looking for the file to request its declassification.”
[Translation (c) 2014, S. Corrales with thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO, and Andrea Pérez Simondini, Vision Ovni]