|The Reus Air Base and the Tarragona Coast were the location for sightings by pilots and controllers. No conclusions were reached from these investigations.|
The CIA has just declassified hundreds of documents regarding the possible existence of alien life in various parts of the planet. These abstracts have been made public and detail investigations and images of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) mostly between 1940 and 1960. The material includes a sighting in Barcelona from 21 May 1952 at the El Prat Airport as well as the one in Sabadell and even in Badalona. The declassification has breathed some life into ufologists and lovers of flying saucer case histories, as the phenomenon has been prolific in these provinces. Sightings accounts, whose reliability varies between belief and skepticism, have dotted the area's popular mythology. However, some of these stories even managed to become a dossier investigated at the time by the Ministry of Defense. The Ejercito del Aire (Spanish Air Force) declassified UFO reports in which at least four sightings linked to the province of Tarragona appear, with the Reus Air Base as their main locale. The documents barely shed any light or final conclusions, but at least testify to the existence of hard-to-explain sightings in spite of research efforts conducted.
The most significant case occurred at the Reus Airport control tower at 11:40 hours on 13 May 1969. The report, marked 'Confidential' and subtitled "strange phenomena sighting" summarizes the situation this: "The controller on duty was attending to the take-off and ascent of a Boeing 727. Upon reaching an altitude of 2000 meters, he noticed - somewhat lower and to the right of the airliner's wake - a bright, motionless point of light, having an apparent size similar to that of a 5 peseta coin. Five more people (the backup controller, two radio mechanics and two soldiers) witnessed the phenomenon. The controller availed himself of binoculars at that point, being able to see "a circular (probably spherical) form, uniformly luminous but for some elongated horizontal spots of higher intensity and yellowish color." The High Command's Intelligence Section report adds: "When the airliner's exhaust became superimposed, the controller lost sight of the object, seeing it again after two minutes, further down and to the left. He lost sight of it definitely shortly after."
Investigations began at that point, without first dismissing the possibility that it could be a scientific balloon belonging to a French research agency with Spanish involvement, and bearing in mind the situation of the runway: aside from the Boeing, there were five Portuguese airliners and a two-seater. The report requested to the French "L'Adour" center proved that the balloon tests did not coincide with the dates given. More documents, such as a sketch on the sighting, an analysis of weather conditions or eyewitness accounts of those who saw the phenomenon, were combined, making it impossible to specify such data as the altitude at which the object was located. Conclusions were vague for this reason: "Despite the lack of conclusive information, (the presence of more aircraft) supports the reflection hypothesis, observable only in a given direction." The existence of fog and the time of day suggested that "it could have been a refraction phenomenon produced between the airliners coinciding in the air, and the sun's nearly vertical position."
Army documents place the Baix Camp capital's aerodrome as a crossroads, and therefore, a potential observation spot for unidentified flying objects. A similar event took place two years earlier, on 11 September 1967. British charter planes returning to England reported a sighting north of Reus at around 17:35 hours. A letter written in English and sent from London requested information on the object seen by the crew of an Air Ferry DC-6 as it flew at 16,000 feet. The file does not provide specifics. "The nature of such objects has not been determined," states the report, dismissing the likelihood of a weather balloon or artificial satellite. The document posits "the creation of an Information and Analysis Center within the defense command to liaise with international agencies for exchanges and studies on the subject of unidentified flying objects."
In the third file, Tarragona was the site of a 12 December 1979 sighting by the pilots of a private plane flying from Barcelona to Zaragoza on a "clear, moonless, and very dark night."
The report states that "a very bright white light, apparently motionless" was seen "over Tarragona or the coasts". The light's intensity dimmed until it became reduced to the size of "the head of a pin", later acquiring its original brightness, something which startled the crew. "The light moved in a disorderly sideways and vertical way, with fluctuations in its luminous intensity." The object vanished past the city of Lleida.
The Reus base is mentioned in a fourth event, although the sighting took place in the Balearic Islands. On 14 February 1979, Flight AF-530, departing from the Palma de Mallorca airport, reported "crossing paths with a meteorite" as it set course to the airfield in Baix Camp. Samples of the tape recording that recorded the conversation between the airplane and the Mallorca airport reflect the words in which the crew admits "having seen a meteorite cross our path. We have seen a very bright sphere." No conclusive report was issued.
* Translation (c) S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO and Raul Cosano / Source: PLANETA UFO and Diari de Tarragona
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