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karl 12

Bizarre Police UFO/USO Case from Tocopilla,

5 posts in this topic

This is a pretty bizarre incident described at where police officers witnessed (and shot at) an unidentified flying object near the port of Tocopilla in the Antofagasta region of Chile on September 23rd/24th, 1971.

Witnesses report the UFO changing directions at 'great speed' and the police report about the case describes the object as having 'an approximate diameter of 20 meters, with a helicopter-like cabin totally lit and with sections like windows' - other reports from separately located witnesses also sound quite similar and describe 'a sort of rectangular building with many windows' and 'an artificially constructed object with intermittent lights and round windows like a ship’s porthole'.

After being witnessed by over a dozen people and exhibiting EM effects on a police patrol car, several officers pursued the object to the coast where one shot at it with his rifle - apparently the UFO then moved 'extremely fast' in the direction of the officers and 'illuminated the area like daytime' - it was last seen by the entire crew of the fishing vessel “Martín Pescador" where it circled around the ship before submerging into the ocean.

Remarkable UFO sighting in Northern Chile


"This case is well documented, as it was reported to and investigated by the Chilean police (Carabineros) and seen by dozens of witnesses. It is virtually unknown in the English UFO literature—the only source in English that I know of was an outline of the case I wrote for the paper, “A Historical Survey of UFO Cases in Chile,” published in the MUFON 1987 International UFO Symposium Proceedings. Besides press accounts, I obtained long ago—courtesy of investigator Luis Riquelme of the Chilean UFO group Orion—a copy of a May 12, 1979 handwritten report signed by a retired police colonel, who was in active service at the time of the incident in 1971".

J. Antonio Huneeus


Beginning around 10 p.m. on the night of September 23, a stationary light over the ocean was seen by numerous witnesses in Tocopilla. One of them, who saw the object with binoculars, described it as artificially constructed, with intermittent lights and round windows like a ship’s porthole.

One of the witnesses quoted in the press at the time was the reporter Daniel Cavieres from the Tocopilla newspaper La Prensa. In an interview with the Santiago newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias, Cavieres said that, “around 22 hours [10 p.m.] on Thursday, I was surprised to see off the coast of Tocopilla something that seemed to be a stationary ship with lots of lights. Normally, when ships navigate on the high seas they only use the officially required lights, which are not many. But in this case there was an abundance of lights, which triggered my curiosity. Moreover, I noticed green and red lights which blinked intermittently.” The reporter looked at the object with binoculars and noticed what seemed like portholes and a cabin..

At 1:30 a.m. on September 24, two different truck drivers traveling from Antofagasta to Tocopilla came across a brightly lit object hovering on the coast. The truck drivers rushed to the nearest police station in Tocopilla. Though skeptical at first, a police van with a sergeant and two corporals was dispatched to “KM 33,” the site where the trucks had stopped to look at the UFO. The carabineros confirmed the UFO immediately and kept it under constant watch until 5:30 a.m.; they reported by radio its maneuvers to the Tocopilla “comisería” (police station). A report of the event was filed later with the Carabineros Northern Headquarters in Antofagasta and a copy of it was obtained by Las Ultimas Noticias..

Police Report:


“It was possible to confirm that at more or less 2 km. [1.24 miles] from the coast, such artifact remained totally lit, changing places at great speed…later on it came close to the beach of Caleta Buena…. At a distance of 150 meters [492 feet], it could be seen that the object had an approximate diameter of 20 meters [66 feet], with a helicopter-like cabin totally lit and with sections like windows. It was approximately 30 meters [98 feet] above the sea level, being impossible to identify its origin.”


Police shoot at UFO/Submerges into ocean:

Colonel's Report:


The colonel's handwritten report to Orion, dated May 12, 1979, goes into still further details. The colonel reveals, for instance, that the sergeant walked towards the cliff armed with a rifle. "When he arrived to the place where he couldn't advance further (the edge of the cliff), the sergeant yelled toward the sea; not obtaining a response he made a series of shots towards the luminous object, states the second report. "Suddenly, this object moved extremely fast in the direction of the rocky cliff, arriving at a distance no more than 50 meters from the place where the police were." At that point continues the report, "the whole area became illuminated like at daytime." The document quoted also the description of one of the corporals, according to which the UFO was "a sort of rectangular building with many windows that could be seen clearly but with no one inside." The UFO then passed over the van and continued toward the mountains, where it "remained suspended in the air, throwing a light beam once in a while which would illuminate the area."

Eventually, the UFO returned to the coast where, around 6:10 a.m., it was seen and reported by radio from the sea by Manuel Malatesta, captain of the fishing vessel "Martin Pescador." The ship was some 20 miles from the coast between Antofagasta and Iquique, when "a red ball" flew around it for several minutes. The ship's owners, Guanaye Fishing Co., issued a press release about the sighting. After the revolutions over the ship, stated the communiqué, "the unidentified body sank in the sea at a distance of more or less three miles from the ship. The phenomenon was observed by the entire crew."

"I have taken extra space to analyze this CE-1 because I think it is one of the catalog's best TRUFO candidates. The object was observed continuously by many geographically-independent witnesses for a period of about 8 hours. The close observations were made by three policemen. The colonel added also in his report to Orion that neither of the policemen had consumed a drop of alcohol. The case remained unsolved. It was appropriately titled by the newspaper La Tercera, "The OVNI with a 'Birth Certificate’ in the North."

Carl Feindt



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More info/sources about the case:

Several witnesses during the night, including policemen. Shortly after 20 hours, the UFO, a red ball of about 20 m in diameter and equipped with a cockpit as the cabin of a helicopter, was observed by the crew of a fishing boat. It illuminated the sea surface as in the day. The ball circled the boat within 50 meters, for a few minutes before sinking into the water 3 miles from their position.

(Janet and Colin EDGE: "Mysteries of the Modern World" - Guild Publishing London 1989, p. 170

Night Two truck drivers have reported sighting a UFO to the local police. Three officers went back to the stage with the drivers. They reviewed the subject, which was oval with a dome and quite bright. The object came from over the ocean near the beach, and a policeman reported that the engine and two-way radio in the police car failed when near the object.

(APRO Bulletin, March-April 1972)


APRO Bulletin Article - March-April 1972

The following reports from Chile are

summaries of data provided over the last

months by Chilean Representative Pablo

Petrowitsch. The first incident occured at

10:00 p.m. , local time, on September

23rd., 1971, at the coastal town of

Tocopilla, almost 800 miles north of

Santiago. Many witnesses observed a

bright light on the ocean, blinking smaller

red and green lights at irregular intervals.

Most persons presumed it to be a ship,

although the lights were not conforming

to marine regulations. After remaining

stationary for about 20 minutes, the light

moved slowly towards the south and

disappeared. The next day, the port

authority stated that ships pass Tocopilla

8 miles out, but no ship was registered to

pass that night.

Later that night (at 1:30 a.m. of

September 24th.) two truck drivers,

Manuel Contreras Santander from To­

copilla and Orlando Torres Ardiles from

Antofagasta, observed a UFO at a very

close range, at the 33rd kilometer on the

road from Tocopilla to Antofagasta between

Caleta Buena and Fraguita. The

road runs between 20 and 1 00 meters

from the water's edge. They claimed that

a very bright "object" appeared which

frightened them enough to go to the

police station in Tocopilla, where they

reported their observation to the "carabineros."

They described an object 20

meters in diameter which lighted up parts

of the beach over which it hovered.

It then flew back over the ocean and disappeared.

The truck drivers returned to the

scene of the observation with three po·

licemen, Sergeant Diogario Cont.reras La·

bran, Corporal Manuel Guillen Munoz

and carabinero Darwin Antunez Albornoz.

The policemen Ia ter reported that they

first observed the UFO about I mile out

over the ocean. "It appeared to be a

totally illuminated vehicle" they reported

"which moved about at high speed. Later,

it approached the Caleta Buena beach. It

stopped at 1 5 0 meters. It was 20 meters

above the water." The policemen, who

stayed in the area u"ntil 5:30 a.m., described

it as an oval object with a "high

part" in the middle.

In an interview with reporters, which

was approved by Captain Hernando Silva

Soto, Sergeant Contreras claimed that

both the engine and the police radio of

the patrol car ceased to function when

the UFO approached.

The Carabinero station at Tocopilla

later radioed the North Zone Sector

headquarters at Antofagasta the following

message: ". • . in order to verify the

existence of a luminous unidentified ob·

ject which had. been seen by drivers. It

was determined that said vehicle, completely

illuminated, was stationed more

or less two kilometers from the beach and

it moved about at very high speed. Later

on, it approached the beach at Caleta

Buena, located at about 4 1 st kilometer of

the same road, where it was noted, at a

distance of 1 SO meters, that it was an

object of an approximate diameter of 20

meters, with a helicopter-type cabin

which was completely lit and which had

sections in the form of windows. It was

approximately 30 meters above the sea,

its identification being impossible."

The object was also reportedly seen by

two other truck drivers, Fernando Labra

of Limache and Humberto Flores of

Valparaiso, and a carabinero station at

Fraguita. As far as APRO can determine,

no further official investigation was conducted

after the sighting.

APRO Bulletins

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Another good one Karl :tu:

You would think that in the 8 hours they could have got a film crew or at least a camera to get some snaps of it .

Many different witnesses in different geographical locations, signed statements by police officers, seems to be a fairly solid case for " something " .



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Tipotep, thanks for the reply mate and I agree about the lack of photography, the similarity of the testimony from the separately located witnesses is quite compelling though - it is a very strange case and I'm not aware of any prosaic explanation for the object but there's more info below from the May/June edition of the APRO bulletin concerning the sightings aboard the 'Martin Pescador':

Another UFO was observed for several

minutes the next day, September 25,

1971, by the entire crew of a schooner

which was en route from Antofagasta to

lqulque. Mr. Dietrich Barz, manager of

the Guanaye Fishing Co. received a radio

message from Manuel Malatesta, the cap

tain of the Martir Pescador, describing the

event. At 10:00 a.m., local time, the

Guanaye Fishing Co. released the following

press statement: "Our schooner

Martir Pescador, sailing from Antofagasta

to Iquique observed today at 6:10 hours

a red ball of light which hovered over

them for several minutes. At that time,

they were 20 miles south of the mouth of

the river Loa, 5 miles from the coast.

Afterwards, the unidentified body sunk

in the water about 3 miles from the ship.

The phenomenon was observed by the

entire crew which sails under the command

of Captain Manuel Malatesta."..

There is also this remarakably similar report from the same area two weeks later involving an unidentified object being seen out at sea and flying towards witnesses at a high rate of speed - like the police officers in the first case, they also report the object emitting a 'light beam':

On October 10th, another UFO was reported near Tocopilla. The witnesses were salesman Hernan Cuevas Hormonechea who was returning to Antofagasta from Tocopilla in his car. His fnend Eduardo Fuentes and a third unidentified person. They left Tocopilla about I :30 a.m local time. About one hour later, they observed a bright light out at sea, which they presumed to be a ship, As they watched, the light reportedly flew towards them at high speed and stopped at a distance of about one kilometer (it was previously about 5 kilometers out at sea). The witnesses clam that a light beam shot out from the "saucer" as they later called it - and began circling "as If looking for something." They also claim that the beam was curved "like water falling from a hose or something like that."

As they watched they stopped a car which was heading for Tocopilla. The car contained five women and a man but the women were too frightened to leave their vehicle so the driver continued toward Tocopilla. The witnesses also claim that a passing truck driver had trouble negotiating the road due to the intense light being given off by the UFO. The light beam from the UFO reportedly covered a larger radius on every sweep and was now also lluminating the hills behind the witnesses. After a while, according to the witnesses, the UFO departed at great speed and was then visible at a distance of about 30 miles out at sea. The departure took 'seconds'. The rotating light beam was also reportedly visible at that distance.

No structural details or windows were seen on the object because of the intense light. the witnesses claim, and the UFO was completely silent as far as they could determine.



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Thanks for the extra info Karl :tu:

It's a interesting one all right !

What do you make of the light beam that was witnessed on the separate occasions ?

No doubt you have researched allot more cases than me , is this something that get reported often in UFO cases ? Illuminating large areas ?, I cant recall any cases that I have looked at mentioning it :blink:

The thing that interests me is obviously the amount of witnesses and signed statements by police that would confirm " something " was there on separate occasions , now if the information is correct on how this " something " acted .. please see quote below ...

"Suddenly, this object moved extremely fast in the direction of the rocky cliff, arriving at a distance no more than 50 meters from the place where the police were." At that point continues the report, "the whole area became illuminated like at daytime."

I wont speculate on what it could have been but if it is correct , it would certainly rule out some of the more common objects mistaken as UFO’s .

Cheers again,


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