Spain: The Springtime Siege of Malaga (1974)
Source: Planeta UFO
Spain: The Springtime Siege of Malaga (1974)
On March 29, 1974, SUR offered a worldwide exclusive when it photographed a fleet of UFOS for the first time ever. The photographs were disseminated worldwide and television networks from many countries headed for Malaga. Salvador Salas Andrade and Fernando Gonzalez Perez were the ones who secured the snapshots that shook public opinion.
On March 29, 1974, SUR presented a worldwide exclusive that shook public opinion both in Spain and worldwide. A series of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) had been photographed for the first time ever and after a three hour wait in the Ciudad Jardin area of the city by Salvador Salas Andrade and Fernando Gonzalez Perez, reporters for this paper. The news had unprecedented international repercussions as never before in the history of the Malaga press. The SUR newsroom, located at the time in Alameda de Colon, was visited by television crews from such countries as France, Germany, Portugal and Italy, as well as correspondents from U.S. networks and of course, Television Espanola, presenting comprehensive reports and special programs featuring interviews with eyewitnesses to the phenomena that kept citizens of Malaga awake for several nights, as well as this paper's photographers. The impact was also reflected as an exceptional print run of SUR, which ran out only a few hours after it hit the streets, amid unheard-of expectation. News writers who were protagonists of Malaga's contemporary journalistic scene, such as Joaquin Marin and the late Julian Sesmero, very young at the time, were responsible for reporting the story that went around the world. Malaga besieged by UFOS? The question, which may seem humorous today, was an important one in an age where the subject of UFOs and "flying saucers" were a very serious and urgent matter, occupying both television and radio space along with many pages of newsprint. Well-known experts in ufology, as we shall see in this commemorative report, met in Malaga to study what was a unique phenomenon as well as a tremendous journalistic success. Today, 52 years later, many citizens of Malaga recall how the city streets, particularly in the Ciudad Jardin district, were filled by thousands of curiosity seekers night after night, hoping for new sightings and "contact" experiences with "creatures from beyond."
On March 27, 1974, SUR published this information in an article by Joaquin Marin, interviewing residents of Ciudad Jardin who claimed having seen a UFO in the skies over Malaga. The story bore the headline "a UFO over Ciudad Jardin" accompanied by a subtitle presenting an eyewitness statement: "It was like a large shining disk from which another emerged." The body of the article presented the event thus:
"It was around eleven o'clock in the morning. We were at the Ciudad Jardin football pitch, enjoying a match between the Felix Saenz and Gallo Rojo teams. I suddenly saw an object in the sky, near the horizon. At first I paid it no importance and kept watching the game. A few minutes later, I looked again and that "thing" remained there, shining, like a disk, and with a sort of smoke around it. All of a sudden, another smaller disk broke away from it, approximately ten per cent smaller. I told Jose Garcia Olea about it. He was also able to see it, as did Jose Luis Moreno and Antonio Martin.
I'm speaking with Don Juan Manuel Rey Bautista, and this has taken some effort, as he was unwilling to discuss the subject, at first, and much less be photographed. "You know what it's like...I'm sure of what I saw, as are my companions, whose attention I directed [to the sighting]. But then people start saying this and that."
"Something else I'm sure about," says Jose Garcia Olea," is that it wasn't a plane or anything like it. I could see it for half a minute, approximately. It vanished after a while, but without moving. That is, it became invisible. it was like a disk, not completely round, with a strong reddish glow, on the horizon, above the hills."
The sighting occurred on Sunday the 17th. The reason that we have not learned of this until today stems from our protagonists' unwillingness to step forward.
Messrs. Rey and Garcia Olea work at department stores in our city's downtown area. They went to watch their store's football team, as they do whenever it plays on a Sunday. "It's a shame that we didn't have the camera we usually have on us to watch part of the game. We could've taken a photo, as it was a very clear day."
I asked Mr. Rey: "Have you told many people about what you saw? What was their reaction?"
"Only what we told our co-workers. Some took it seriously and others in jest, as is always the case. Although the fact that four of us saw it has bolstered our story."
"When you used to hear people talking about UFOs, how did you take it?"
"Truly, I've never taken the subject lightly. It's a subject that interests me and I've read several books about it. ¿What makes us think we're the only ones in the Universe?"
UFOs are a matter of current interest. A subject that causes passion and interest, and of which not much is known as of yet. But every so often, the news arises: someone has seen a UFO. This time it's been in Malaga. Four people have seen it. And their stories agree..."
The next day - Thursday, March 28 - SUR printed a sharp photograph of a strange object shining in the night sky on its front page. 'Alien Beings?' asked a headline which read, in uppercase, 'AN OUTSTANDING DOCUMENT'
The text on the first page read thus:
"Our newsroom received last night, for the second time, news concerning the strange luminous phenomena seen over the skies of Malaga. A totally dark sky, devoid of stars. Due to the insistence of phone calls coming in from the Ciudad Jardin district, our photographer headed out to secure this visual document which we do not hesitate to describe as outstanding. The photo was taken with a Nikon camera and a 25 cm zoom lens, without a tripod and using Tri-X film. The object was fixed in the distance. Notice to unbelievers: the negative is available at our newsroom to anyone wishing to see it, Alameda de Colon 2. The photo was taken by Salas (details on Page 15)."
On Page 15, Julián Sesmero said the following:
"We have already offered our readers an interview with Juan Manuel Rey Bautista and Jose Garcia Otero, the gentlemen who saw a strange object over Ciudad Jardin on Sunday the 17th of this month in the company of other friends. An object which, furthermore, stopped abruptly in space and remained suspended for minutes before moving again. UFOs? the interview was conducted with great restraint, both on the part of our informants as well as the journalistic treatment we gave this information."
SOS: More UFOs
Last night, at ten fourteen, there was a call to our newsroom. It was a very alarmed young woman. She said something along these lines: "Listen, we've been watching a strange flying object in the sky for over 20 minutes. It's very large and bright. It shoots lights and is moving from side to another, very slowly."
We asked where she was.
"I'm with some friends in Ciudad Jardin, near Instituto Sierra Bermeja. This is no joke. There are several of us together and we're all watching the strange object. Antonio Barceló, the reporter from Radio Peninsular, is here with us."
Ten minutes later we were at the greyhound racetrack. Minutes of impatient waiting. We spoke to some kids who hadn't seen or observed anything unusual. We got in the car and went back to Cristo Rey Street. Another stop. Suddenly toward the north east, a very pale, purplish luminous form appeared at a considerable distance. It was like a brief gaseous mass that moved very slowly. We couldn't see it very long because it vanished gradually. We headed back to the greyhound track looking for the darkest area of CIudad Jardin in order to better see the object hidden from our glances. At the time there were many boys watching the skies; several adults in some balconies and windows. The sky was completely dark. The clouds would not allow the least trace of light to come through. We watched the sky for another twenty minutes. Nothing. Fifteen minutes later, we saw a bluish purple light hovering over the hills. It hid itself away, only to reappear. It vanished minutes later. At midnight, after a lengthy wait throughout the area, we returned to the newspaper. Salas took several photos with his zoom lens. A UFO? Whatever it was, we can assure you that we have reported things as we saw them, without any fantasy or contagion from anyone else."
This then, was the information received on Thursday the 28th, before the great news "bombshell", as it was last night when Fernando and Bori took the extraordinary photos. Given the technological hindrances of the time and the slow process of putting the paper together, they were saved like for the Friday, March 29, 1974 edition.
SUR's Great Exclusive
Because that's when the "bombshell" went off, that day, when the first page of SUR was devoted to some exceptional UFO photos that appeared to fly in perfect formation. Beneath two full-page photos, the headlines read: A WORLD EXCLUSIVE - PHOTOS OF UFO FORMATION with the following lead:
"The visual material published by SUR yesterday, which is being confirmed by many people in our city, has caused an exceptional reaction throughout Spain. There were calls to our newsroom the entire day. More information was requested on the subject from all parts of the country. Other national papers wanted photos of the UFO at all costs, and even foreign publications were interesting in securing them. Television Espanola has also shown its interest and has reported on this genuine worldwide exclusive. Yesterday, we presented photographs that showed a UFO perfectly. The time at which they were taken - around midnight - kept us from seeing the importance of the negative immediately, as we wanted to bring the photo to our readers as soon as possible at a time when the printing plates must be created as soon as possible. But yesterday morning, with more time, it was possible to see something completely unusual and extraordinary in the negatives: the union or separation - we are not sure which - of two new UFOs, as shown in the photographs. The upper one shows the distance at which the two smaller objects were from the larger one. The next four photos show close-ups of each phenomenon. The SUR newspaper validates all that has been set forth and unhesitatingly declares that no trickery has been involved. The negatives remain at the disposal of the most demanding analyst, if challenged to present them. Above all, SUR respects its readers. Seriousness has been our foremost characteristic, and our newspaper has never needed hoaxed photographs or sensationalist stories to boost its sales." This was the lead that accompanied two truly startling photos, appearing on the front page. Information on the event began on SUR's front page, reading thus:
"The can be no doubt that the visual information that appeared yesterday in our paper must be qualified in such a way, and today it acquires a sensational level. New strange objects are visible in the photo negative obtained by Salas. They resemble small disks, located at the side of the oval-shaped one, which we published in two different photos in our preceding number, at an unspecified distance. What does this suggest? Are they indeed flying saucers? Of course, the notion that the object presented yesterday is a weather balloon must be discarded due to the appearance of these two disks which constitute, apparently, a small fleet of UFOS. It is therefore not possible for the object photographed by Salas to be a weather balloon or anything similar, unless such object, launched frequently by weather stations, are in the habit of having offspring."
[Translation (c) 2015 S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Pedro Luis Gómez - Diario Sur and Guillermo Giménez - Planeta UFO]