UFO FILES: Mexico’s Roswell

The History Channel, Sunday 19th February, 2006


In 1974, an incident occurred in Mexico that equals in terms of drama any in the history of the UFO phenomenon. Yet this event, which has become known as Mexico’s Roswell, is almost unheard of.

The History Channel’s UFO Files continues to bring high quality reconstructions and interviews with top investigators, such as Jaime Maussan and Bruce Maccabee, and actual witnesses, while approaching the subject with the seriousness it deserves. While the program uses a sceptical approach, it never resorts to ridicule, thus making it far superior to Discovery’s World’s Weirdest UFO Stories.

On 25th August, 1974, near the small town Coyame in the Chihuahua province of Mexico, about 36 miles from the border with the United States, a civilian plane, flying from El Paso, Texas to Mexico City, appears to have collided with an unidentified flying object and crashed into the desert.

The story begins shortly after 10PM, when US radar tracked an object speeding across the Gulf of Mexico at 2500 miles per hour at an altitude of 75,000 feet. It appeared to be on a course for Corpus Christi, Texas, until it suddenly veered to the left and began a zigzag course into Mexican airspace. After travelling another 500 miles, the object suddenly vanished from their radar screens.

Less than an hour later, a civilian aircraft was reported as missing from the same area that the UFO had disappeared from.

The next day, a Mexican recovery team began a search of the desert for the missing aeroplane. A couple of hours later, US intelligence agencies listened in to Mexican military radio and heard that the plane had been found just outside of Coyame. Shortly afterwards, reports came in of a second wreck, but this was no plane.

What they found was a silver, disc-shaped object, about sixteen feet in diameter and five feet thick. It appeared to be slightly damaged in a couple of places, but apart from this, it was intact. Immediately, the Mexicans ordered for radio silence and the airwaves fell silent.

An offer of help from the US government was refused by their Mexican counterparts. They told the Americans that all they had was a crashed plane and no assistance was required. Unperturbed by this snub, a crack recovery team was assembled at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Surveillance flights monitoring the area from low altitude found that the Mexicans had loaded the UFO onto a flatbed truck, but something appeared to have gone wrong. Bodies were scattered around the area.

The next day, four helicopters (three Hueys and a Sea Stallion) departed from Fort Bliss and crossed the border into Mexico.

On arrival at the stalled convoy of trucks, the Americans, clad in bio-protective suits, found all of the Mexicans dead. While it is not known what killed the men, the theory that the cause was some sort of extra-terrestrial biological agent is a favourite among ufologists.

The US squad found the UFO strapped to the back of the flatbed truck and it was quickly lifted by the Sea Stallion and flown to the United States. When the saucer was safely out of the way, the bodies, plane wreckage and vehicles from the Mexican team were placed together and incinerated with high explosives. The Americans then beat a hasty retreat back to their base.

It is not known where the UFO was taken, but Atlanta, Georgia, Fort Bliss in Texas and Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio have all been suggested.

The Coyame Incident was almost forgotten about for nearly twenty years until the UFO sightings during the Mexican solar eclipse of 1991 brought the subject back to the forefront once more.

Hundreds of witnesses claimed to have seen metallic, disc-shaped objects in the darkened sky and dozens of video-tapes have been released depicting them. It caused a sensation in ufology, but astronomers and sceptics maintained that all that was seen were planets such as Jupiter and Venus, which were visible at the time.

Despite these explanations, Mexico became the worldwide focus for UFO reports for many years and sightings continue to this day. Indeed many researchers claim that such an explosion of sightings was predicted in the Mayan Dresden Codex over a thousand years ago. The Maya were expert astronomers and their calendar was extremely accurate. It was precise enough to predict the Mexican solar eclipse of 1991!

Some have also suggested that the codex also predicted the UFO sightings. Part of the Dresden Codex refers to the coming of the brothers and sisters of the stars, which some researchers have taken to mean extra-terrestrials.

Sceptics, however, suggested that the Mexican UFO wave was a self-perpetuating phenomenon. People were excited by the news coverage given and began reporting anything they saw in the sky that they could not explain, whether it be a spacecraft from Zeta Reticuli or a weather balloon or an aeroplane. Accusations of over-zealousness flew and witnesses were branded as crackpots or simply mistaken.

Reports from trained airline pilots, though, were harder to dismiss.

Captain Raymundo Cervantes Ruano is an airline pilot with over 17,000 hours of flight time under his belt. He thought he had seen it all, until, on the 28th of July, 1994, he witnessed something that he could not explain.

That day, he was piloting AeroMexico Flight 129 from Guadalajara to Mexico City. Their journey was almost complete and permission to land was given by the Mexico City air traffic control centre. The plane was at 5,000 feet and the landing gear was lowered.

Suddenly the plane rocked as though in collision with something. Cervantes thought that they might have clipped a helicopter in this busy traffic corridor, but he had no time to worry about that. He declared an emergency and expected an abnormal landing. The plane landed safely and their fears that the landing gear had been damaged seemed to be assuaged.

On investigating, it was found that no other aircraft had been in the area of Cervantes’ jet and the control tower had detected nothing. Damage was found on the plane, though, in the form of a cleanly-sliced hydraulic line to the landing gear. Worn parts were blamed and the airline denied that any mid-air collision had occurred. Cervantes, however, remained steadfast in his claim that his plane had collided with something.

He gained support from Enrique Kolbeck, one of the control tower personnel on duty that night. He recalled several phone calls during that time. An hour before Cervantes’ jet departed Guadalajara, the Mexico City ATC received several calls from different sources that an unidentified object was seen flying close to buildings that were in the final trajectory for the approach to the airport. The sightings placed the UFO on a direct path to intersect with Flight 129.

On August 8th, 1994, AeroMexico Flight 304 was en route from Acapulco to Mexico City. As the plane approached the capital’s international airport, co-pilot Carlos Corzo Rosales looked out of the window, as his pilot viewed the instruments. As the plane broke through clouds, Corzo was shocked to see a huge object, perhaps 15 or 20 metres in radius, and metallic in appearance, directly ahead. He feared that a collision was imminent and he warned his pilot. The object streaked by very close to the jet.

Flight 304 landed without further incident, but Corzo was told that his was the fifth plane that week to have reported a UFO.

Mexican pilots and air traffic controllers take the UFO subject very seriously, as people’s lives are at stake and any collision with an object, known or unknown, could be disastrous.

September 16th is Mexico’s Independence Day and a lively series of events take place to celebrate this anniversary. For many years, an air show was organised, with the Mexican Airforce performing in and around Mexico City.

In 1993, at that year’s air show, amateur video footage caught a bright, round object apparently manoeuvring in between the helicopters flying in formation in the skies above.  Similar footage was caught in 1991 and 1992. The Mexican military offered no explanation.

On March 5th, 2004, the 501st Mexican Air Squadron was on a routine mission searching for drug smugglers over the Gulf of Mexico. Their radar picked up a target, which they took to be a drug smuggler’s aircraft, and they began a pursuit. The target was flying very erratically and also altering its speed. The military crew switched on the Forward-Looking Infra Red (FLIR) cameras. Although the target was clearly visible on radar, neither the FLIR nor their own eyes could see anything. Low on fuel, they were forced to return to base. The unknown object soon vanished from the radar scope.

Then the FLIR operator began picking up bright objects that seemed to be at cloud level. There appeared to be as many as eleven of these things weaving through or beyond the clouds. This experienced crew had flown this same route many times and had been using the FLIR system for over two years, yet these objects baffled them and the plane’s cockpit recorder preserved their excited chatter for posterity. The objects appeared to surround their aircraft before suddenly vanishing.

A thorough investigation could find no explanation for the sighting and the Mexican military, in an unprecedented move, asked the UFO community for help. World famous Mexican UFO researcher and television journalist Jaime Maussan was given the classified footage from the FLIR camera and asked to officially investigate the sighting and release the footage through the media. He was given access to flight reports and weather records and even interviewed the crew of the plane. Maussan released the footage to the world on the 11th of May and it didn’t take long for the sceptics to provide their explanations: ball lightning, a fleet of top secret aircraft, flames from distant oil wells and even that the FLIR system was faulty.

The oil well explanation seemed the most likely explanation, but a study of the footage by Jim Dilettoso convinced him that what was captured by the FLIR camera were not the fiery plumes from Gulf oil platforms. Dilettoso claimed that if they were flames, the objects caught on film would be flickering and changing shape, but what was recorded was bright and steady. Also, if it had been flames from static oil wells, then the crews would surely have seen them before. They had flown that exact same route many times and never seen similar lights before.

In 2005, Mexico was the location of sightings of vast UFO ‘fleets’. Video footage of these fields of bright objects moving about the sky have been explained away as birds or balloons. Maussan is convinced that these fleets are a form of communication, similar to crop patterns, but in the sky.

While the sceptics stood by their explanations, one sighting on June 24th, 2005, made the headlines. On that day, the governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera Beltran, was in Xalapa, attending a ceremony for the presentation of new patrol cars for the local police department. Suddenly, cries of “UFO! UFO!” rang out and everybody looked skyward. The gathered TV crews turned their cameras towards the objects and caught a group of objects hanging in the sky.

The sighting was reported all over Mexico and that the governor had been present gave it a certain air of credibility for ufologists. Soon, though, the objects were explained away as balloons released by local schoolchildren.

Researchers rejected this hypothesis because the objects had appeared static in the sky for over thirty minutes. Fourteen objects were counted, forming a triangle. Balloons would have drifted with the air currents, yet these never moved.

Fifteen years after the 1991 eclipse, Mexico remains a world centre for UFO reports, drawing researchers from all over the globe. The Coyame crash-retrieval case, though, remains largely unknown and uninvestigated. Jaime Maussan claims to have been told about rumours of photographs of the site at the time of the crash and that he has been promised them. He is still waiting for their receipt and fears that those in possession of them are afraid to come into the light.

Mexico’s Roswell was another fascinating and entertaining episode from the UFO Files series. Mexico’s love affair with UFOs appears to continue unabated, despite sceptical attempts to derail the constant stream of clips and photos that seem to emerge every day from that enigmatic nation.

Although most famous for its UFO videos, Mexico has witnessed many other forms of phenomena connected with the subject. In the second issue of the UFOData Report, there is the fascinating account of a Mexican housewife and teacher who experienced something extraordinary while travelling in Central America with her husband. It is a story that will pique the interest of anyone with an interest in alien abduction and it is well worth looking at.

Keep watching http://www.ufodata.co.uk for news about this upcoming feature.

The images used are the property of the copyright holders and are only used here for review purposes.

© Steve Johnson - 2006


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Updated 16th August, 2012