Government release files on Louth UFOs: Nick Pope interview

Thursday 3.15pm - SECRET government documents on UFO encounters in our area have been released by The Ministry of Defence.

The files date from 1989 to 1992 and include previously classified reports, letters and newspaper articles kept by the MOD.

One section includes a report from 1992 in which a group of people watched a triangular craft in the skies over the Louth area.

The report recounts how on December 9 at 4.30pm several people 'along a coastal road near Louth' watched three lights forming the shape of a triangular aircraft. Many people were said to have stopped their cars to look at the object which hovered, turned and then 'shot off at 500mph.'

The report concludes: "Many local people experienced automatic changes in channels on their televisions that evening."

The archives reveal a similar sighting was made by a control tower at Heathrow airport a week later.

We spoke to Nick Pope who worked on the MOD's UFO desk from 1991 to 1994, he said: "I remember the 1992 case very well, not least because I led the investigation.

"One of the witnesses was the Commanding Officer at RAF Donna Nook, to whom I spoke. As far as I can recall, we checked the radar tapes but found nothing unusual.

"No explanation was ever found for these sightings, which were among the most intriguing to have occurred during my time on the UFO project."

Another section of the archives refers to an incident from 1970 in which US pilot captain William Schaffner from RAF Binbrook, died after supposedly being scrambled to intercept a UFO.

Newspapers revived the mystery in 1992 after an anonymous RAF 'source' claimed the pilot's aircraft crashed into the North Sea after a mid-air encounter with a bright conical object.

When the F6 plane was recovered from the water the cockpit was closed, but the pilot was not inside.

The mysterious circumstances of Schaffner's death fuelled speculation amongst ufologists the MOD was covering up an alien abduction.

A transcript purporting to be the pilot's last conversation with the RAF station was revealed by the anonymous 'source' appearing to confirm the UFO theory.

This has been revealed as a hoax as the newly released MOD files include the official transcript and the RAF accident report. This states Schaffner was involved in a training exercise that went wrong when he 'inadvertently flew his aircraft into the sea.'

Nick Pope said: "I was the person who investigated the allegations of a UFO connection when they first surfaced. I obtained the original report and satisfied myself that such allegations were false.

"I met Capt Schaffner's sons a few years ago and talked them through the circumstances of the accident. They had been extremely upset at the unfounded rumours surrounding the death of their father and were grateful to the MOD for their openness in helping answer their questions concerning his death."

The mystery over the pilot's disappearance remains to this day as his body has never been found.

* To see a Google map on UFO sightings in our area visit the homepage.

* Have you seen a UFO near Louth or Mablethorpe? Email gemma.gadd@jpress.co.uk