Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2015 22:44:50 -0400
From: Richard Vitello <w1rv@charter.net>
Subject: SS Point Sur Incident, May 16, 1967, Document
To: francis ridge <franridge@nicap.org>

The following pdf file contains the original document and is now housed on the NICAP site for security reasons.


The text version is provided below:

The following is an account of U.F.O. sightings aboard this vessel on a voyage from Quincy, Mass. To Houston, Texas.  They were observed by Homer Hawthorne, Third Mate (left vessel at Houston 5/17/67)  Earle Bradley, Able Seaman, Eric Koster, Ordinary Seaman, and myself.  The objects were observed by the four of us thru 7 x 50 binoculars.

At 2210 ships time, 5/16/67 (0310 Greenwich time) Mr. Hawthorne called me to the bridge for what appeared to be 6 red distress flares.  When I got on the bridge there were 4 lites in sight.  Some of these would go out and others flash on so the original assumption of 6 seems accurate.  After a period of 10 minutes, 4 of these settled into a definite pattern.  Two of these were about 35 degrees forward of the starboard beam and at an elevation of 10 and 14 degrees respectively.  They were 11 miles off by radar which would place the lower at an altitude of approximately 12,000 ft.   The two lower ones were to the right and would rise several thousand feet and then drop back near the sea with a cone shaped light, lighting up a large area.  At times they would descend below the horizon where only a loom could be seen.  When in view, all 4 had the same light characteristics.  A very brilliant yellow light with a band of red lites across the upper two thirds as seen thru binoculars.  With the naked eye it blended to a reddish orange.  All lights pulsated at 4 second intervals with a ratio of brightness of about 3 to 1.    These objects would black out at irregular intervals for periods up to 20 seconds.  With a height of eye of 55 feet, this put our apparent horizon at 8.5 miles.   Their disappearing below the horizon confirms our radar distance of 11 miles.  The radar return was poor, showing a pip on every 5 to 10 sweeps.  As these objects were traveling on a course of 295 degrees true at 15 knots, my opinion is that they would only get a return when one wobbled and showed more surface.  I judge their course and speed on the fact that they maintained their same relative bearing and distance for a period of 50 minutes.  They appeared to be deliberately pacing us.  Altho there was moonlight, we could not make out the shape of the objects at any time.  During their eclipse, there appeared to be a faintly defined haze (smoke) in the area.  At 2300, the lights went out one at a time and were not seen again. 

Quoting from Mr. Hawthone's notes tat he took at the time. Ships position 27 deg 25.6' north 90 deg 14.7' west (Gulf of Mexico) course 295 deg true speed 15 knots.  Visual bearing of objects 350 to 005 degs true.  Clouds about 1/3 sky consisting of clear overhead.  Cirro-stratus from 35 degs toward horizon SE to S and SW to W.  Some stratocummulus toward western horizon.  Sky clear in vicinity of objects.  Barometer 30.30, temp 71 degs, Nod Ely soa.  Wind ENE force 3.  Loran and Radar on.  No electrical disturbances of equipment noted.  Magnetic compasses not noticably affected.

Respectfully submitted,

Donald W. Dee
Master S/S Point Sur