Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Colombia: Air Traffic Controller Discloses Warplane UFO Chase Over Bogotá

Source: Luis Emilio Annino - ORBITA CERO
Date: 06.25.2019
Article by Cristián Avila Jiménez

Colombia: Air Traffic Controller Discloses Warplane UFO Chase Over Bogotá

A FAC (Colombian Air Force) T-33 tried to reach the object, but was faster. Occurred in 1964.

"El Dorado Tower, I have it in sight. I'm flying in pursuit. Requesting flyover authorization."

The Air Force T-33, registration 2072, had commenced a visual flight from the Palanquero military facility in Puerto Salgar, Cundinamarca, heading toward Bogotá's El Dorado airport, where certain anomalies had been recorded by pilots heading there and air traffic controllers as well.

It was 9 o'clock in the morning in mid-1964. On that day, according to experienced air traffic controller Eduardo Russi, the Colombian Air Force had sent two Lockheed T-33 Silver Star aircraft - U.S. built warplanes that had taken part in the Korean War - with the purpose of lending support to the airport. These were the most sophisticated aircraft in the country at the time.

Weeks earlier, said Russi, there had been an alert at the El Dorado airport. First, an Avianca DC-4 pilot had radioed a frantic call to the approach control as he neared the Bogotá savannah, near Facatativá, around 8 o' clock in the evening. He reported that another airplane had just crossed his path at the same altitude.

However, the control tower advised him that his perception was incorrect, as his was the only aircraft aloft. "What plane? Yours is the only one in the area. There is no traffic," the pilot was told, according to Russi.

A week after this minor incident, an even more surprising incident caused a stir among El Dorado's air traffic personnel, Russi among them. The pilot of an Avianca Constellation, originating in Cartagena, radioed his alarm about some lights that supposedly flew over and under his airliner. The event was substantiated by the airport personnel, as they were also able to see the lights "toying" with the plane.

These events were unusual, to the extent that the Colombian Air Force (FAC) decided to send the T-33's to provide support and find out whether the lights represented some sort of hazard, and to ascertain their nature.

That morning, Eduardo Russi acted as the senior officer of the El Dorado Tower. One of the instructions given by his superior, Pedro Sánchez, was to be mindful of the arrival of the FAC warplanes. The weather could not have been better - he noted - as the skies were blue and clear, to the extent that the Ruiz and Tolima volcanos were visible.

"You guys, who fussed so much about those sightings, now have the Air Force catering to you. They've been transferred over here in case something happens," Sanchez told Russi.

The first T-33 to depart Palanquero was FAC2072.

"El Dorado this is Palanquero: Please note that Air Force 2072 has taken off from Palanquero heading to El Dorado. This a transfer flight, visual, I will route it by El Rosal."

El Rosal is a mountain on the Bogotá savannah, near the municipality of Subachoque. Only minutes later, Russi answered a new call from the Palanquero base.

"El Dorado, this is Palanquero: Please note that Air Force 2070 has taken off toward El Dorado. Transfer flight, routing it through El Rosal."

According to Russi, 10 minutes later, FAC 2072 advised him that it was approaching from El Rosal, and was waiting for landing instructions. The control tower issued an order to notify it when the incoming plane passed by the beacon, a signaling device a few miles from Runway 1-2 at El Dorado, near Funza, to authorize the landing.

Following this communication, Russi noted that the baggage handlers, the ground refueling crews and those on deck were pointing at him in the control tower. At first he thought they were pointing at him because there was an earthquake, and the building was only supported by two columns, causing it to sway during tremors. However, he looked to each side and saw nothing was moving. The controller received a new call, but this time from the deck.

"Listen, there's something strange hovering over the tower. What is it?"

Russi got close to glass window, looked up and said he could see nothing at all, despite the insistence of those on the phone. He hung up and attended to FAC 2072, which had now crossed the outer beacon and was authorized to land.

The phone rang again. It was a call from Avianca.

"There's something over the tower. What is it?"

Russi look through the glass again and there was, in fact, an object over the tower. The controller described it as a round object, like a wheel, of a deep, intense yellow hue and with black sections. A bright white light was visible at the sphere's core, like a welding arc. “It was brighter than the sun, and the day was completely cloudless."

At that moment, FAC 2072 was about to land, but moments earlier, Russi queried the pilot if the unidentified traffic was in sight.

"FAC 2072, El Dorado Tower. Do you have the unidentified object in sight?"

"El Dorado Tower, FAC 2072. Affirmative tower, I have it sight. I am in pursuit; requesting flyover authorization."

"FAC 2072, El Dorado Tower, authorized."

FAC 2072, a T-33 fighter, used its power to maximize its peak performance and reach the object. Russi recalled that the aircraft ascended, and was within 2000 feet (some 600 meters) of the unidentified flying object.

From the control tower, the man observed how the unknown device rose vertically and without a sound as FAC 2072 tried to approach it. Within three minutes of initiating the pursuit, the fighter pilot contacted Russi again.

"El Dorado Tower, FAC 2072. Tower, be advised that I am at 31,000 feet and the plane is maxed out. I do not have enough fuel. Requesting descent authorization."

The luminous object flew westward at a 45 degree angle and vanished. "What was it? I can't tell you. I don't know. I don't know what I saw, only that I did see it," Russi remarked.

FAC 2072 and 2070 landed. Russi was stunned by the event but now, 55 years later, bemoans his lack of experience at the time, as he only recalls the fighters' registration numbers but forgot to ask the pilots for their names.

Chief Pedro Sánchez ordered the air traffic controllers to remain silent about the event, an order also given to the FAC pilots, who returned to Palanquero a few days later.

"It was the first and only time I saw a something like it in a 50 year career. All of these cases share a common denominator: the event occurs, and we are asked not to discuss it," Russi noted.

Events similar to Russi's are under investigation in the United States, where the New York Times recently published a report stating that between 2014 and 2015, Navy pilots saw strange object that reached 30,000 feet with supersonic speeds, and were unable to identify them.

To Russi, authorities and governments appear not to be interested in these situations becoming known. Therefore, the incident or event may have taken place, but it does not reach the public.

Regarding UFO sightings in the country's capital, Germán Puerta, director of the Bogotá Planetarium, notes that it is common for people to say they see such things, bearing in mind that many aerial phenomena exist, such as airplanes, drones and satellites, as well as the International Space Station, which is very bright. All of these elements can be mistaken for unidentified flying objects.

"The Planetarium receives photos and videos of aerial phenomena, but not much more can be said about them. A luminous object, or one in motion, is hardly evidence. There is nothing that can be said about it," he notes.

[Translation (c) 2019 S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Luis Emilio Annino, Orbita Cero (Argentina) and Cristián Avila Jiménez, El Tiempo (Colombia)]