Investigation Report by Gord Heath, UFOBC
On November 23, 1953, a US Air Force F-89C jet fighter interceptor was dispatched from Kinross Air Force Base near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to identify an intruder that had appeared on radar. For thirty minutes, the jet raced out over Lake Superior under guidance from radar operators at a remote station on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Suddenly, the return from the jet merged with that of the bogie it was chasing. The IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) signal from the jet was lost. The radar blip from the F-89 never reappeared. An extensive search of the lake and shoreline over the next five days yielded no trace of the F-89 jet or its crew, pilot Lt. Felix Eugene Moncla Jr. and radar operator Lt. Robert L. Wilson.
The incident was documented as a UFO encounter throughout the book "The Flying Saucer Conspiracy" written by Major Donald Keyhoe and published in 1955. The USAF officially stated that the "UFO" was an RCAF Dakota C-47 flying east over Lake Superior. Is this a true account or is this just a cover story for a fatal encounter with a UFO?
Since 2001, I have been investigating this incident and trying to find the truth behind this mystery. This report presents my findings which I hope will shed some light on the still unsolved mystery.
From my investigation of the F-89 disappearance, there are at least three key questions that form the core of the mystery as it relates to what happened to the F-89 and crew on that snowy night in November, 1953.
The primary unanswered question that still seems clouded in mystery is what caused the alert at Kinross which resulted in the F-89's mission over Lake Superior?...
A second unanswered question is what was it that the F-89 merged with on radar before contact was lost with the F-89?...
A third unanswered question is what happened to the F-89 after radar contact was lost with it?
Based on available information, I have tried to reconstruct a timeline and narrative of the Kinross event as described from available sources. The event reconstructions are an attempt to place all of the events into a logical and consistent framework which best fits the information we have about the incident.
Each of these reconstructions describes what might have happened that night according to what is known and recorded from various sources.
The following are articles appearing in newspapers relating to the Kinross Incident, or the F-89 crash which happened the same day in Madison, Wisconsin.
2 Truax Men Killed in Jet's Crash Here
(Wisconsin State Journal, Nov. 23, 1953): F-89 flown by Lt. Moncla's neighbor and friend, Lt. John Schmidt, crashes into marsh on shore of Lake Wingra in Madison, where Lt. Moncla's 433rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron was based.
Second Truax Jet, 2 Fliers Missing
(Capital Times, Nov. 24, 1953): News Article about missing F-89 over Lake Superior.
Lake Superior Hides Jet's Fate
(Wisconsin State Journal, Nov. 24, 1953): News Article about missing F-89 over Lake Superior.
Other Accounts Relating to Kinross Incident
The Kinross Incident as told through standard UFO lore is dominated by unanswered questions relating to the merging of the F-89's return with that of the unidentified craft over Lake Superior. While there is certainly much to doubt in the various official explanations for the event, there are also several other mysteries which tie into the F-89's disappearance.