MELBOURNE (AP) - Australian officials are trying to
determine whether an oil slick south of Melbourne came from a light plane that
vanished after its pilot radioed that a large object hovering above him was
not an aircraft.
Frederick Valentich, 20, was on a
short solo flight from Melbourne to King Island across the Bass Strait when he
Air traffic controllers said he
radioed that he could see four bright lights about 300 metres above him that
appeared to be the landing lights of a large aircraft. He asked whether any
military aircraft were in the area and was told there were none.
Two minutes later, he radioed: "It is
approaching from due east toward me. It seems to be playing some sort of game
... flying at a speed I cannot estimate."
A minute later he radioed: "It is not
an aircraft. It's..." and radio contact was lost briefly.
He was asked to identify the object.
"It is flying past. It is a long shape. I cannot identify more than that. It's
coming for me right now," he said.
And then: "It seems to be stationary.
I'm orbiting and the thing is orbiting on top of me also. It has a green light
and a sort of metallic light on the outside."
A few minutes later he reported that
his plane's engine was idling roughly and coughing. His last words before
radio contact was lost permanently were: "It is not an aircraft."
Valentich's parents said they believe
their son was seized by an unidentified flying object. They discounted a
theory raised by some that in the dark he had accidentally turned the plane
upside down or into a steep bank and saw the reflection of his own lights in
An air force plane taking part in an air and sea search for Valentich sighted
an oil slick in the strait Sunday. It was being analyzed to determine whether
it contained aviation fuel.