BOAC Incident (Case 6)
Seven Islands, Quebec
June 29, 1954




James E. McDonald:
A famous case in UFO records occurred near sunset on June 29, 1954, over eastern Canada, when crew and passengers of a British Overseas Airways Corp. Stratocruiser, outbound from New York to London, observed for eighteen minutes (about 90 miles of flight path) one large object and five or six smaller objects somewhat north of Seven Islands.  The UFOs were sighted just aft of the port wing, at a very roughly estimated distance of 5-6 miles, maneuvering in an unconventional manner.  The pilot, Capt. James Howard, stated (after landing in London), "they were obviously not aircraft as we know them. All appeared black and I will swear they were solid.  There was a big central object that appeared to keep changing shape.  The six smaller objects dodged about either in front or behind". (reference 9) When interviewed by USAF intelligence personnel at Goose Bay, Labrador, it was stated that all of the crew had participated in the sighting, plus a number of passengers, a total of twenty witnesses.  A fighter plane scrambled from Goose Bay at Howard's request. Just before it reached their area, the UFOs rapidly moved out of sight towards the northwest. 

The group of UFOs maintained relatively constant position, relative to the airline, until their departure, and lay approximately five degrees to the left of the just setting sun.  No meteorological optical phenomenon could reasonably account for the reported phenomena.  The Stratocruiser was flying at about 240 knots at 19,000 feet on the southwest edge of a high-pressure center over Labrador, scarcely the kind of meteorological conditions favorable to ball lightning, and visibility was described by the captain as "perfect".  To suggest that a natural plasmoid could keep pace with an aircraft at that speed and distance seems entirely unreasonable.  The speed and motions rule out meteors.  The peculiar maneuvering of the smaller objects and the curious shape changes of the larger object suggest no conventional explanation.  It was First Officer Le Boyd's impression that the smaller ones merged into the larger prior to departure, again defying obvious explanation. 

Howard is still flying with BOAC.  In a recent interview, he corroborated the details of the 1954 press accounts and added interesting additional points.  The distance of the objects precluded seeing any structural details, if any had been present; it is the performance characteristics and pronounced shape changes that mark this well authenticated sighting as a puzzling UFO case for which no adequate explanation has ever been proposed. 

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