THE UAO SIGHTINGS AT
THE ISLAND OF TRINDADE(1)
By OLAVO T.FONTES, M. D.
APRO Special Representative for Brazil
When Navy officers, competent technicians and experts on meteorological and atmospheric phenomena, from a military Meteorological Station and Oceanographic Post doing research connected with the IGY, report seeing the same UAOs on at least eight different occasions, the event can be classified as very unusual. Add the fact that a number of other people saw these UAOs and that in two cases they were observed through theodolites, and the story gets even better. Add a few more factsthat these UAOs were photographed and the photos, showing a lot of detail of the UAO, were proven to be genuine according to official statements; that they were picked up on radar and that several people got a close look at the object at least in two of the sightingsand the case becomes one of the best in the whole history of UAOs, good enough to convince even the most ardent skeptics. Enough to prove that they are realsome type of vehicle flying through our atmosphere.
This is the situation when you face the reports of the UAO sightings at the Island of Trindade, a Brazilian possession lost in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Most of these incidents are known to the Brazilian public, but there are important details which have not been disclosed. However, even the information already released through the Brazilian press must be included, for it is almost certain that the American public doesnt know anything about it. It is a well-known fact that reports of flying saucers from other countries, when published in the American press, do not contain the necessary detail to give them factual stature. Most news services merely as an "item," mostly without verification, and many times without even names or dates. Therefore, I am going to report the whole story of the Brazilian Navy sightings at the Island of Trindade, the remarkable series of incidents which caused a tremendous impact on the Brazilian public and put the uneasy Navy authorities of my country in a very difficult position.
Hundreds of hours of my time were spent on an exhaustive personal investigation of these amazing incidents, to uncover all the facts connected with them, even the ones not revealed through the press. I was very lucky in my search, mostly because I was informed about the UAOs pictures at a time when they were still a top-secret subjectlong before their publication.
The first word of the sightings came on February 4, 1958, when a Navy Commander phoned me to report a startling story. That man, a close friend of mine, had been a hard-boiled skeptic for many years. In the past, I had tried to convince him that UAOs were real objects but got no resultsall my attempts had failed. Now he was calling to tell me he had changed his opinion just a few days ago, after he had seen some amazing pictures of a flying saucer taken a few weeks before by a Navy officer, at the Island of Trindade. "They are authentic," he told me, "because they were shot from the deck of a Navy ship, the NE Almirante Saldanha, in the presence of a number of Navy officers and sailors, who had sighted the UAO too."
My friend went on to say that the ship was at the Island of Trindade on a scientific mission, and that an investigation had been made immediately. The ships CO. had taken the necessary measures to get the film developed aboard, in the presence of reliable witnesses, and had requested the negatives for examination. These negatives had been submitted to a careful investigation by photographic experts, in order to eliminate any doubt about their authenticity.
He had seen the five pictures the day before and was deeply impressed. They showed a strange object which was obviously an aerial machine of unknown type. He was also informed that a craft of the same kind had been sighted by the crew of a Navy towship traveling near the coast of Bahia (State). He said the evidence was enough to convince him that saucers existed.
This was the Navy officers story. Feeling that he was now sincerely interested in the UAO problem, I advised him to talk to Commander X (there is no need to tell his real name), an officer from Navy Intelligence who was, in fact, the Head of the Brazilian Navy investigations of UAOs, and also the "contact officer" on the same subject with the U.S. Navy. "He was the person who showed me the pictures," was my friends answer. He then told me that Com. X was one of his best friends in the Navy. He also said he was going to request special permission to show me the pictures, under compromise. He warned that the matter was going to be difficult because the photos were classified for official use only.
Permission was granted on February 14. On that occasion my personal investigation of the case was already yielding good ressults. From several sources, through my contacts in the Brazilian Navy, a lot of new information on the incident had been collected. I already knew the following basic facts connected with it: (1)that the man who had shot the pictures was not a Navy officer, but a civiliana photographer named Almiro Barauna; (2)that the UAO appearing in the photos had been sighted on January 16, 1958; (3)that Mr. Barauna had taken only four pictures of the object; (4)that the fifth one, which showed the same saucer (or a similar one), had been shot by a Navy sergeant stationed on the Island, on a different datebefore the arrival of the NE "Almirante Saldanha;" and, (5)that at least six other sightings had been made at the Island before the arrival of that ship, in less than two months.
This was the information I had obtained when, on the evening of February 14, I went to the Brazilian Navy Ministry according to the instructions received. I met the Navy officer who was my friend and we went to talk to the intelligence officer who was to show me the UAO photos. I was permitted to make a close examination of the four pictures shot by Mr. Barauna. I also saw the fifth one, which was together with the others, but no one told me anything about its different origin. The intelligence officers who worked on the UFO problem seemed to constitute an efficient staff and it was a pleasure to talk with them. We discussed openly the details of the saucer structure appearing in the enlargements made from each photo. They had traced the flight path of the object across the sky and carefully plotted on special charts the data concerning size, speed and altitude. They had no doubt about the authenticity of the photos. The Navy Photo Reconnaissance Laboratory did a complete analysis of the original negatives, which included visual studies, frame-by-frame slide projection, microscopic examination, granulation tests and measurements of the images brightness. And the photo lab report had concluded that the photos were genuine. Also, a photogrammetric analysis made outside the Navy, by a civilian organization, the "Cruzeiro do Sul Aerophotogrammetric Service," had definitely excluded the possibility of a falsification or photographic trick. And the photographs agreed with the description of the object that the observers had seeni.e., all witnesses had recognized the object appearing in the pictures as the same one they had sighted over the Island.
They confirmed the information I had collected about other sightings at the Island, but no additional details were given. At the end, they asked me to keep absolute silence about the whole matter. And so I did for a long time. I am not breaking the compromise assumed. As a matter of fact, all information released in that interview was published later in the press. The secret data included in this report, not yet published, were picked up from other sources under no compromise.
After the meeting at the Navy Ministry, the next thing was to try to find the man who had taken the photos. This task was given to reporter Joao Martins, one of our best UAO investigators, who was already working with me in the case. He found Mr. Barauna on the night of February 15. He told him he wanted the photos exclusively for his magazine. Barauna agreed, but advised that the publication could be made only after authorization from the Navy for he had assumed a compromise to keep the matter secret. The permission was granted on the same night, verbally, by Com. C. A. Bacellar. However, it was still subject to the approval of the Navy Ministry and Martins was forced to wait for it.
This seemed to be the end of my investigation of the photographs. The amount of data I had gathered was accurate but it was inconclusive as far as getting a definite answer was concerned. Then something unexpected came to change the situation. On February 20, the first news about the incident appeared in the press: the newspaper "0 GLOBO" printed a note on the rumors that a flying saucer had been sighted at the Island of Trindade by the crew of the NE "Almirante Saldanha." The note said that the information had not been confirmed or denied at the navy Ministry, but a Navy spokesman had said that a statement on the case would be released to the press at the proper time. That same night Martins was visited by Mr. Barauna. The man had bad news. Com. Bacellar had phoned him to report a very unpleasant fact: that same night, a radio news program had announced that a newspaper, the "CORREIO DA MANHÃ," was going to print next morning "exclusive pictures" of a saucer taken by the Navy, at the Island of Trindade. Bacellar also said that the Navy, taken by surprise and worried, had made a desperate attempt to stop the publication at the last momentbut failed. . . . Then they had sent him to inform Barauna that he was free from the compromise and should take the proper measures to defend his own rights. Mr. Barauna told Martins that he was free to break their contract, too. But Martins decided to accept the fight. They prepared a written contract which was signed by Barauna. They went immediately to the office of the involved newspaper to stop the publication. Their attempt was a failure, too. It was then decided to publish the pictures in another newspaper, at the same time.
The newspaper "0 JORNAL" was contacted and agreed to print the photos. Next morning, on February 21, the case was published in both papers. "0 JORNAL" printed also a report about the sighting as told by Mr. Barauna, which has also been published in "The A.P.R.O. Bulletin" (March, 1958).
Despite the careful measures to maintain secrecy, some one had broken the censorship and put the Navy authorities in a very difficult position. And the man who had done this could not be punished because he was the Brazilian President himself. Ten days before, he had received several copies and enlargements of the UAO photos from Admiral Alves Camara, the Navy Minister, as evidence that the Navy had proof of flying saucers reality. A few days later the President was visited by a close friend, a person connected with the editor of the "CORREIO DA MANHÃ." During the interview, that person noticed some strange photos spread on the Presidents table and asked about them. The President told him. He became very excited and asked permission to get them published. The President promised to consider the demand. Several days later, under the pressure of insistent demands, he finally acceded to liberate the pictures. And when the Navy tried to stop the publication at any cost, the Presidentwho had not asked for the Navys advice on the subjectsaid that his decision, right or wrong, was final. The photos were published. The incident made headlines in Rios newspapers and later all over the country. Excellent enlargements of the pictures were printed in the press, showing the saucer moving over the sea and hovering above the Islands mountains. The effect on the public was tremendous. A thing like that had never before been revealed to the Brazilian people. Those photographs were clear enough to show the object was an unknown type of craft. And they had been shot by a member of the Navys scientific expedition, i.e., they had been authenticated by the Navy.
The case remained on the papers front pages for seven days. Navy authorities did not know what to do, for the thing was too big to be concealed anymore. To deny any connection with the incident was a childish thing, an unnecessary liebut they tried it. The maneuver was a failure, however for the orders to keep the secrecy about the matter were not obeyed by civilian observers aboard the ship. They talked. Their reports confirmed Baraunas report. Under the pressure of public opinion, the Navy was forced to issue an official release which caused a Congressional inquiry into the Navy policy about the UFOs. This marked the climax of the confusion and controversy which followed public announcement of the startling events at the Island of Trindade.
The Congressional inquiry was approved at the House of Representatives on February 27, 1958. According to Brazilian law, Representative Sergio Magalhaes requested the Navy Ministry to explain the facts connected with the incident at the Island of Trindade. The text of this fascinating document was printed in all Rios newspapers on February 27 and 28. It is transcribed below, quoted verbatim from the Government Printing Office publication, the "Diario do Congresso Nacional":
"HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE U. S. OF BRAZIL OFFICIAL INQUIRY"
"Subject: The Navy Ministry is requested to answer or explain the following items of the inquiry presented by Rep. Sergio Magalhaes (Rio de Janeiro, D.C.) on February 27, 1958, and approved by this House:
- If it is true that the crew of the NE Almirante Saldanha witnessed the sighting of a strange object over the Island of Trindade.
- Considering that the official statement released from the Navy Ministers Office recognizes that photos of the strange object were taken in the presence of members from the crew of the NE "Almirante Saldanha" it is asked if an investigation was made, and if the reports from the Navy officers and sailors involved were registered.
- In the hypothesis of a negative answer, the Navy Minister is requested to explain the reasons on which he has based his inclination to attribute no importance to the fact.
- If it is correct that the photos were developed in the presence of officers from the NE Almirante Saldanha, and that the pictures showed the image of the strange object since the first examination.
- If the negatives were submitted to a careful examination in order to detect any photographic trick contrived before the sighting.
- Why the information was kept secret by Navy authorities for about a month.
- If it is correct that other similar phenomena were observed by Navy officers.
- If it is correct that the commanding officer of the Navy tow ship Tridente witnessed the appearance of the strange called a flying saucer.
The appearance of these strange aerial objects known as flying saucers has attracted the worlds interest and curiosity for more than ten years. For the first time, however, the phenomenon is witnessed by a large number of members from a military organization, and the photos of the object receive the OFFICIAL SEAL through a statement released to the press by the Navy Ministers Office.
Yet, as the problem affects the national security, more information is necessary to clarify the facts. There is some controversy in the information divulged through the press, but the Navy apparently has no intention of releasing a complete report to stop the confusion and inform the public. Furthermore, the Navy Ministers Office, having declared (officially) that a large number of people from the NE Almirante Saldanha crew had sighted the strange object photographed over the Island of Trindadein spite of this, there was no request for the witnesses reports or any other measures, as confessed the Chief of the Navy High Staff when interviewed by the press." UNQUOTE.
The flying saucers had achieved the honor of being referred to in the House of Representatives. By now the words "flying saucer" were being batted around by every newspaper reporter, radio and TV newscaster, and man on the street. It had become apparent that the press was reviving its interest in UAOs. Newspaper reporters uncovered and printed a lot of valuable information on the matter, for they rival any intelligence officer when it comes to digging up facts. But the best thing they were able to get was the Navy secret report to the House of Representatives with the answers to the questions asked by Rep. Sergio Magalhaes. The information was published on April 17, 1958, by several newspapers at Rio (CORREIO DA MANHÃ, 0 JORNAL, and JORNAL DE BRAZIL).
The document pointed out that the reports hadnt actually started with the Barauna Incident. Several other sightings over the Island had been witnessed by a number of workers, sailors and officers, on different occasions, during the months of December (1957) and January. Some of these cases had not been taken into consideration, said the report, "though the witnesses reported the sighting of the object on different days, because their stories were not sufficient for scientific evaluation due to the observers lack of qualification (sailors and workers), and to the brief duration of the phenomena." But in five incidents, at least, the reports had come from Navy officers, scientists, and other equally credible observersand those reports couldnt be discarded. The Navy investigation of the matter was started in January, soon after the arrival of the NE "Almirante Saldanha" at Rio de Janeiro, and closed on February 2.
The Navy report also included an account of these other incidents, which involved "unidentified objects" shaped like a flying saucer, and tear-shaped devices. "One object," said the report, "when seen from below, showed a spherical outline and its color was undefined for some, like stainless steel for others. The size was not determined. All the reports called attention to the high speed, controlled maneuvers, and extreme mobility of the objects spotted. Their movements were not continuous like those of an airplanebut abrupt and rapid, with sudden changes of course and speed, and right-angle turns."
It contained also the Navys analysis of the Barauna Incident together with the evaluation of the photos taken by that photographer. The conclusion at the end of the document was the following:
"Personal reports and photographic evidence of certain value indicate the existence of unidentified aerial object(s)."
All the information transcribed above was printed in the Brazilian press, as well as a summary of the several sightings at the Island. No one knows who gave out the data to newspapermen, but some clues suggest Rep. Magalhaes himself. Anyway, the information was correct. I was able to check the matter personally. I saw the Navy report itself, in the hands of some friends from the Navy. In fact, there was more information in it than what had been revealed through the press. The matter will be discussed again in another portion of this report.
Incidentally, the Navy reaction to the publication of information contained in the secret report was expressed in the official release made by Commander Raul Lopes Cardoso, from the Navy Minister Office, on that same day:
"The Navy has sent a memorandum to the House of Representatives with the answers to the questions asked by Rep. S. Magalhaes, in an official document on the sighting of a flying saucer on January 16, 1958, at the Island of Trindade. I must declare, however, that such a memorandum is a classified document and the House of Representatives is not authorized to divulge any information included there. Only the President of the Republic, or the Navy High Command could give the order to declassify the Navy Secret Report on the subject and make it available to the public.
"I would like to make it clear, on the other hand, that the document received by Rep. S. Magalhaes is not the Navy Secret Report itself. That Report continues to be absolutely secret. Any information or comments about it are still forbidden. What was sent to the House was a single memorandum, classified too." (Rio de Janeiro 0 JORNAL, April 17, 1958).
Rep. Sergio Magalhaes was the obvious target of the Navy release transcribed above. To avoid trouble, he was careful in his official declaration to the press on the matter. He said only the following:
"After receiving from the Navy the information requested in the inquiry connected with the flying saucer of Trindade, I have concluded that an unidentified object was seen by the crew of the NE "Almirante Saldanha," and photographed by Mr. Almiro Barauna." (Rio de Janeiro JORNAL DE BRAZIL, April 17, 1958).
The facts reported above represent only a part of the whole history, but they are enough for the reader to get a general idea about the situation and to realize the extraordinary significance of the remarkable sequence of UAO sightings at the Island of Trindade. The following account presents the true and complete story, based on what I learned in my investigation of the matter. Most of the information included was published in the press, but my report contains also data which has never before been divulged. In these instances I have left out the names of the people who gave me the information, or the names of certain people who were associated with the Navy projectpeople who have co-operated to help me but do not want publicity. But the greatest care has been taken to make sure that the omission of a few names has in no way altered the basic facts because this report is based on factsall of the facts. Contrary to the present thinking in military circles, I believe that the public must be told every detail of every phase of the UAO investigation. Therefore, nothing of significance was left out.
Now let us consider the events in the order in which they occurred.
The First Sightings at the Island of Trindade
Trindade is a small, deserted, rocky island located in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, between the Brazilian coast and the African continent, more than 600 miles off the coast of Bahia. During World War II, it was used as a military base for U.S. and Brazilian warships fighting German U-boats. But it was abandoned after the end of the war, remaining completely deserted and forgotten until 1957. In October, 1957, however, a task force from the Brazilian Navy arrived there, under the command of Captain-of-Corvette Carlos Alberto Ba-cellar. The Hydrography and Navigation Division of the Navy Ministry had decided to build an Oceanographic Post and a Meteorological Station on the island for research connected with the IGY.
By early November the task had been completed. The installations began their activities. Besides equipment for oceanographic and meteorological studies, there was also a radio station on the island. Instrument-carrying meteorological balloons were released daily by Navy technicians to study high-atmospheric conditions. These weather-balloons were flexible bags inflated with hydrogen and painted red, to make it easier to spot from the ground. The gas inside the balloons expanded gradually as they ascended (because of the drop of atmospheric pressure), and a stage was reached when the balloon could not expand further and then it burst. The instruments were automatically dropped by parachute before this moment. Each balloon carried a radio transmitter which started to send a radio signal as the balloon began to climb. Information registered on the balloons instruments was automatically sent to the ground station. At the moment the instruments were parachuted, the radio signal changed automatically to a higher frequency. The balloons movements were tracked all the time through optical devices because a close observation of its ascent would give information on the winds at various heights. The technicians tracked the balloon with theodolites, to avoid losing contact with it.
November was coming to an end. On the morning of a clear, sunny day, a meteorological balloon was being tracked with a theodolite as it slowly climbed into the sky. Com. Bacellar was inside the radio station, picking up its radio signals. Everything seemed to be normal. But suddenly the signals frequency changed unexpectedly. Puzzled, Com. Bacellar sent a man outside to tell the operators at the theodolite that the balloons instruments had been parachuted prematurely. The technician came back a few minutes later and was very excited: "They said that the instruments have not been dropped yet, Commander, and that. . ."
"That is impossible," answered Bacellar, "because I am listening to the new signal. What is happening outside?"
"I dont know, sir, but they say there is another object in the sky near the balloon, and perhaps . . ." But he had no time to finish the sentence because the commander was already running through the door.
It was unbelievable. There was another object in the sky besides the balloon, hovering over the Post at a great altitude. It could be sighted distinctly with the naked eye, appearing as a bright luminous speck, silvery in color. It seemed to be moving from one side to another and making tight turns. At its apparent height, the speed had to be tremendous to convey an impression of motion so clearly defined. It was at an elevation of about 80 degrees. Despite the impression of motion, the first suggestion was that the "unknown" might be the planet Venus. The possibility was immediately checked and it was found that the azimuth and elevation of Venus did not coincide with the position of the object.
Com. Bacellar took over the theodolite and found the balloon still there, whereupon he immediately abandoned it and picked up the unidentified object as it came out of the sun. Through the 20-power scope, the UAO presented a distinct oval-shaped outline and was about three times as long as it was wide. It was silvery-white in color and reflected sunlight with what looked like a metallic shine. It appeared at times to change shape according to its position in space in relation to the observers. Sometimes it seemed round, or looked like a planetary disk.
There was a cloudless sky and no haze. The object left no vapor trail or exhaust. No projections were noted on the surface. It was not rotating, but the small change of shape at intervals suggested an oscillatory motion of some sort.
The balloon burst at the proper time but the UAO was still there. It remained in sight for almost three hours. At the end diminishing gradually in size, it finally was lost to sight by the technician who was tracking its course all the time.
A radio message signed by Com. Bacellar was sent to Rio reporting the events and asking for instructions.
According to Com. Bacellar, this was the first UAO sighting at the Island. I had another information about two previous incidents in October, before the arrival of Bacellar. It was said that, in one of them, the UAO had landed at a deserted spot on the island butwhen approachedmoved away at high speed after a swift take-off. The information had come from a reliable source, but Com. Bacellar denied it.
The second sighting happened on December 5, 1957. A worker, according to his written report at the C.O. at the island (Com. Bacellar), watched a strange object cross the sky overhead at 8:00 a.m. The alien craft was flying silently at a height of about six thousand feet; it was silvery in color and round-shaped; its angular diameter was similar to that of the full moons.
This report didnt attract unusual interest at the time because the witness was a person with no special qualification. On December 31, however, came the third sighting. The same object (or a similar one) passed again over the island.
The time was 7:50 a.m. A silvery, circular object, with an apparent size compared with the full moon, crossed the sky silently at about six thousand feet. This time it was watched by five workers, a sailor, the islands doctor, and a Navy officerLieutenant Inacio Carlos Moreira.
By this time, the commander was worried. If those UAOs were hostile, the Navy garrison at the island had no chance to fight back in the case of an attack. The island had no weapons for defenseno artillery, long-range weapons, or even anti-aircraft cannons. Com. Bacellar did not expect an attack, of course, but his men were uneasyand he knew it. There might be trouble in handling them if those UAOswhatever they might be continued to appear over the island.
The fourth sighting occurred on the following day, January 1, 1958. For obvious reasons, almost everybody was alert, with eyes turned toward the sky. At 7:50 a.m., a bright point of light flashed over the sea at very high speed. It described a 90 degree trajectory on the sky before vanishing into the horizon. In the middle of this trajectory, it glowed brightly for a few secondslike a mirror reflecting the sun. The whole garrison, including Com. Bacellar, saw the object. At that hour a number of sea-gulls were flying around. Was it a sea-gull? Com. Bacellar said he is not sure. If it was a sea-gull, it was the fastest of its kind in the world.
Workers and sailors witnessing the phenomenon, on the other hand, reported that the object sighted was the same they had seen on other occasions. Besides, it had appeared at the same time and was moving in the same direction (to the North) as the UAO of the previous day.
Next day, January 2, another alarm was giventhis time at night. But the men were excited and the thing was seen for a few seconds only. No one was sure about it. The sighting was discarded. The same night, however, the Navy tow ship "Triunfo," traveling off the Bahia coast, some 400 miles off the Island of Trindade, was circled for almost ten minutes by an unknown aerial object. The whole ships crew witnessed the incident. The UAO was round-shaped, encircled by a weird orange glow, and maneuvered at high speedwith sudden changes of course and right-angle turns. At certain times it hovered motionless in mid-air for a brief time, sometimes close to the ship.
This was the fifth sighting of the series. It was not published in the press. These facts seem fantastic, but they are recorded in the Navy Secret Report on the Trindade Incidents. The most incredible event was yet to come. According to the secret Navy document sent to Rep. Sergio Magalhaes, the sixth sighting happened on January 6. As usual, another weather balloon had been released that morning and was being tracked from the ground. The sky was blue and clear, with no haze, and there was a solitary cumulus cloud almost overhead. Com. Bacellar was inside the radio cabin, tracking the balloons slow ascent via the signals emitted from its radio-sonde. Everything appeared to be normal...
Suddenly a strange thing happened; the radio signals began to diminish gradually in intensity, fading away as if the transmitter was moving to a distance outside the range of the ground station antenna. And there was no change of frequency. In fact, the signals frequency did not change even at the expected time, when the instruments should have automatically dropped by parachute. The change never came because soon the radio-sonde was dead. For unknown reasons the balloons transmitter was now silent.
Worried, Com. Bacellar went outside to investigate. There was nothing unusual at first sight: the balloon was already very high in the sky and still (climbing up; it was slowly approaching the large cumulus cloud, which was overhead at an altitude of fourteen thousand feet. The balloons instruments were expected to be dropped at this height.
It was then that the observers saw a strange thing: the balloon was sucked suddenly toward the cloud, entered it, and was lost to sight. It appeared again about ten minutes later, and resumed its ascent in the skymore rapidly now, for it was lighter than before its disappearance into the cloud. The balloons instruments had disappeared when it was inside the cloud. In fact, it had entered into that cloud still carrying its instrumentsbut it had left the cloud without them.
Had the balloons instruments been parachuted when it was out of sight, inside the cloud? Maybe, but no one saw the parachute coming down with them. No one can be sure because they were not found. As would be expected if they were picked up by an interloper...
Yes, there was an interloper inside the cumulus cloud. It came out soon after the balloon and was first spotted by the technician at the theodolite. Com. Bacellar was alerted and saw it too: a silvery object, with the color of polished aluminum, shining in the sunlight. It came slowly from behind the cloud, moving along a SW-E direction. Com. Bacellar looked at it through binoculars and then asked for the theodolite
Through the 20-power theodolite, the UAO looked like a half-moon with a bright white color. Bacellar followed it with the scope for half an hour. It was still moving from the Southwest to the Eastbut later it changed course and started to move from East to West. At this moment, Bacellar called a technician to resume keeping the slow-moving UAO in the theodolites field and he went to the radio post, to check the radio-sonde data. He went later to a ship to get a sextant and, from the deck, he followed the object through that optical device for a long time.
At 12:15 a.m. the UAO finally disappeared behind a cloud-bank (cirrus clouds) and was not seen again. According to Com. Bacellars observations, the UAOs angular velocity was like that of the sun when the object was moving on an E-W course. However, when it moved in the other direction (along a SW-E course) the speed was much higher.
This sighting was reported in the press on April 17 (Rio de Janeiro CORREIO DA MANHÃ, 0 JORNAL, and JORNAL DO BRASIL) and May 17, 1958 (magazine 0 CRUZEIRO). All the details were included, except the facts connected with the radio-sonde signals and the balloons instruments. These are related here for the first time.
At this point, I would like to call the attention of the reader to the fact that Com. Carlos Alberto Bacellar is a highly qualified officer, a competent technician, and an expert on meteorological and atmospheric phenomena. He started the first systematic radio-sonde research in my country. Therefore, he is well qualified to detect the difference between a UAO and a balloon, or the planet Venus, or any other meteorological or astronomical phenomena. His observations of the sightings described above were obviously more precise and accurate but, unfortunately, he could not talk about the matter. He confirmed the incidents but refused to give out more details because the data was still classified.
There was still another sighting in January according to the information I received from another source. When questioned about it, Com. Bacellar angrily refused to admit its existence. He said the whole thing was a lie. Despite this lack of confirmation I will report the case because the information came from a very reliable military source.
According to the information, this seventh sighting occurred just a few days before the arrival of the NE "Almirante Saldanha." This time the UAO appeared very low over the island. It flashed toward the Meteorological Post at terrific speed, slowed down abruptly, and hovered for a few seconds over it. Then it started to move again, described several circles around the island, hovered briefly above the "Desejado" peak, moved again on a zigzag course and was gone into the horizon at tremendous speed. When last sighted, it was flying in a Northwesterly direction. This UAO was a weird object. It appeared to be made of polished aluminum (or similar metal), and was shaped like a flattened spheroid with a large ring circling its equator. The spheroid body did not rotate, but the ring appeared to be spinning at fantastic speed. The object made no sound as it flew through the sky. In spite of the fact that it had been sighted almost at noon, on a clear sunny day, against a cloudless skythis UAO was surrounded by a bright greenish glow, which almost disappeared when the object was hovering, to become brighter when it started to move.
A number of people at different spots on the island witnessed the sighting. The witnesses were scared and spread alarm and confusion through the garrison. Com. Bacellar, it was said, submitted the witnesses to a careful interrogation after taking measures to avoid any contact between them. All reports agreed that the "unknown" was a solid object about twice to three times the size of a DC-3; that it appeared to be intelligently controlled; and that its performance was beyond anything manufactured upon this planet.
The investigation also revealed another important thing (also denied by Com. Bacellar): that the UAO had been photographed by one of the witnesses, a Navy sergeant. The man was taking pictures of the island with a box camera when he spotted the UAO moving across the sky. He shot one picture before it disappeared. The negative was immediately requested by Com. Bacellar and the film developed the same day. The picture was good enough to show that the object photographed was the same as described by the witnesses. Its spherical outline as well as the large thick ring around it could be clearly seen in the enlargements made from the negative. On the other hand, it seemed that the UAOs rapid motion had not been adequately stopped by the box camera; the object appeared out of focus on the photo and no good detail was observable.
This photo was probably one of the five UAO pictures I saw at the Navy Ministry, together with the ones taken by Mr. Barauna. Despite the lack of detail, it is very important as evidence, for it shows the same object seen later in the photos taken by another person.
With this we can pass to the last UAO sighting at the Island of Trindade, the one that was widely reported through the press. It is the best case of the whole series, not only because of the amazing photographs taken by Mr. Barauna, but also for other important reasons that will be presented in the next portion of this report.
The NE "Almirante Saldanha" Incident.
The UAO Photos Authenticated by the Brazilian Navy(2)
In early January, 1958, the ship "Almirante Saldanha" left Rio de Janeiros harbor and proceeded toward the Island of Trindade with a crew of three hundred. That ship had been previously a Brazilian Navy school-ship, but it had been converted into a hydrographic unit to be used for investigations connected with IGY research. It belonged to the Hydrography and Navigation Division of the Brazilian Navy and, since October, 1957, the ship had made several trips to Trindade, most of them connected with the Navys oceanographic studies for the IGY.
Several civilians were aboard the ship this time, invited officially to collaborate with the Navy Ministry in the scientific studies which were underway at the Island. One man was Almiro Barauna, a photographer and former newspaperman now working as a "free lancer." He was also an expert in submarine photography and had been invited to work in the field for the Navy.
After a routine trip the ship arrived at the Island and stayed there for several days. It was scheduled to leave for Rio on January 16. That day, at 12:15 p.m., when the ship was preparing to depart, a strange object was sighted simultaneously by a number of observers gathered on the deck. The UAO came toward the Island at high speed, hovered briefly over a peak, disappeared behind it for a short time, and appeared again to move away toward the sea. Mr. Barauna was taking pictures of the ships maneuvers at that moment. He spotted the UAO and got four pictures of it.
Lets review what happened as told in the witnesses own words. Lets begin with Almiro Baraunas report. He was interviewed by reporter Joao Martins and his statements were published in the magazine 0 CRUZEIRO (March 8, 1958). They are transcribed below:
"Q. Mr. Barauna, what were the reasons for your presence aboard the NE Almirante Saldanha?
A. The Navy has invited several teams specialized in submarine hunting to visit the Island of Trindade. I am a member of the Icarai Club for Submarine Hunting, and our group was invited for the last trip. So, on January 8, when the ship left Rio, I was aboard together with the following members of my group: Amilar Vieira Fliho, captain of our team, a Government employee (he has a job at the CACEX); Jose Teobaldo Viegas, instructor at the Aero Club of Niteroi and Air Force Captain (retired); Mauro Andrade, from the London Bank; and Aloislo, municipal employee at the Federal District. We were going to try to beat some records on submarine hunting. Personally, I was going to take underwater photographs for the Navy, and also to write some articles about the Island and the activities of the scientists working for the IGY.
"Q. Was any other civilian aboard, besides your group?
A. Yes. There was Prof. Fernando, a geologist, with two assistants, and also a photographer, and a reporter from the newspaper JORNAL DO BRASIL. The three scientists left the ship and went to the island.
"Q. Please tell me what was the date of the sighting? What happened?
A. It was on January 16, at 12:15 p.m. The ship was preparing to leave the island, to come back to Rio. I was on the deck observing the operations to take aboard the boat used in the trips between the ship and the island (the island has no harbor). The sea was agitated. The weather was cloudy, clear, with no shadows. I had my Rolleiflex 2.8model E, which was kept inside an aluminum box for protection against the corrosive effects of water and salt. I had left by Leica with a telephoto lens in my cabin a few moments before. The deck was full of sailors and officers. Suddenly, Mr. Amilar Vieira and Captain Viegas called me, pointing to a certain spot in the sky and yelling about a bright object which was approaching the island. At this same moment, when I was still trying to see what it was, Lieutenant Homerothe ships dentistcame from the bow toward us, running, pointing out to the sky and also yelling about an object he was sighting. He was so disturbed and excited that he almost fell down after colliding with a cable. Then I was finally able to locate the object, by the flash (of light) it emitted. It was already close to the island. It glittered at certain moments, perhaps reflecting the sunlight, perhaps changing its own lightI dont know. It was coming over the sea, moving toward the point called the Gab Crest. I had lost 30 seconds looking for the object, but the camera was already in my hands, ready, when I sighted it clearly silhouetted against the clouds. I shot two photos before it disappeared behind the peak Desejado. My camera was set at speed 125, with the aperture at f/8, and this was the cause of an over-exposure error, as I discovered later.
"The object remained out of sight for a few secondsbehind the peakreappearing bigger in size and flying in the opposite direction, but lower and closer than before, and moving at a higher speed. I shot the third photo. The fourth and fifth ones were lost, not only because of the speed the saucer was moving, but also for another reason: in the confusion produced as a result of the sighting, I was being pulled and pushed by other persons also trying to spot the object and, as a consequence, photographed the sea and the island onlynot the object. It was moving again toward the sea, in the direction from which it had come, and it appeared to stop in mid-air for a brief time. At that moment I shot my last photo (the last on the film). After about 10 seconds, the object continued to increase its distance from the ship, gradually diminishing in size and finally disappearing into the horizon.
"Q. Did you hear anything unusual during the sighting? Was the object emitting any sound?
A. I am not sure, to be honest, because of the noise made by the sea waves against the islands rocks, as well as for the yelling aboard the ship at the time. However, I think that I heard nothing besides those sounds.
"Q. What was the color of the object?
A. It showed a dark grey color, appearing to be surroundedmostly in the area ahead of itby a kind of condensation of a greenish, phosphorescent vapor (or mist).
"Q. Did the object appear to be metallic?
A. Yes. It was obviously a solid object.
"Q. How was it flying? Any special characteristic?
A. Yes. It showed an undulatory movement as it flew across the sky, like the flight of a bat. And when it came back, it changed speed abruptly, with no transition, in a jump.
"Q. Do you know how many persons aboard the Almirante Saldanha sighted the object?
A. The object was sighted by almost all the people on the deck at that time, including Lieutenant Homero, Captain Viegas and Mr. Amilar Vieira.
"Q. What happened after the sighting?
A. The ships commander and several officers from the garrison wanted to see what I had got in the photos. As I was very curious too, I decided to develop the exposed film at once, aboard the ship. The processing was done under the supervision of several officers, including Com. Carlos A. Bacellar. But only the negatives were seen aboard. The reason: there was no photographic paper for the copies on the ship at that time. The negatives, however, were seen and examined by the whole crew.
"Q. Did you keep the nagtives in your hands?
"Q. Were you under any pressure to give up those negatives to the Navys authorities?
A. No. Com. Saldanha da Gama (the ships C.O.) and the other Navy officers aboard were very kind. They never tried to get the negatives from me.
"Q. What happened when the ship came back to Rio?
A. The ship stopped first at Vitoria, in the State of Espirito Santo. As it was going to stay there for two days and later travel to Rio, we were permittedthe civilians from the submarine hunting group onlyto leave the ship there and to take a bus for the rest of the trip. Later, two days after the arrival of the Almirante Saldanha at Rio, Com. Bacellar (ex-commander of the Navy Post at Trindade) appeared at my residence. He wanted to see the enlargements made from the negatives, and asked permission to take them to the Navys authorities. Two days later they were returned with congratulations. I was also requested to appear at the Navy Ministry as soon as possible. They wanted to ask me certain questions, and to see the negatives again.
"Q. And what happened there?
A. I was interviewed by several high-staff officers, who asked me all kinds of questions. I went there twice. At the first meeting, they requested the negatives for examination. They were sent to a civilian organization, the Cruzeiro do Sul Aerophotogrammetric Service, remaining there for four days. I was told by the Navy officers that the analyses proved they were genuine excluding definitely the possibility of a trick or falsification. On the second visit, they performed several Time-tests. While I worked with my Rolleiflex, taking shots at the same time-intervals I had used to photograph the object, three Navy officers with chronometers registered the times. They came to the conclusion based on these tests as well as on studies concerning the ships position and examinations of charts of the Islandthat the object was flying at a speed between 900 and 1000 Km/hour (600 m.p.h.). The objects size was also estimated, on the basis of studies related with the Islands details also appearing on the photos, diagrams drawn on charts, graphs, etc. The object was about 120 feet in diameter, and about 24 feet high.
"Q. Do you know anything about the official report on the case?
A. I saw a dossier which was consulted many times during the interrogation. However, I didnt read what was written there. I was also informed that my photos, mixed with other pictures, had been shown to witnesses of the sightingto be identified. The result was positive.
"Q. Do you know anything about any photos by other people aboard the ship?
A. No. Besides myself, there were at least four other persons with cameras at the time of the sighting. But apparently they were not able to spot the object in time, or were paralyzed by their own emotions.
"Q. Were you warned against something by the Navys authorities? Was there some recommendation?
A. Yes. They requested me to keep the matter secret for some time. I was permitted to publish the case only after authorization from the Navy. The permission was granted, verbally, on the night of February 15, by Com. Bacellar. They made only one restriction, which I cannot mention for the reason that I have given my word.
"Q. Do you know if your sighting was the first over the Island of Trindade?
A. I was informed of four other sightings over the island during those thirty days preceding the incident of January 16. I was also informed of another thing: At one of those sightings, the object was photographed by a Navy sergeant. His photo obviously was not released and probably never will bethe reasons are evident. Besides those four sightings, there was also the radar case. A target flying at supersonic speed was tracked through the radar of the Almirante Saldanha, on January 15.
"Q. Did you receive any money from the Navy for your work at the Island of Trindade?
A. No. I was there as a guest.
"Q. Did you receive any money from the Navy for your photographic work, or for the enlargements you made for them?
A. No. I only received the photographic paper to be used for enlargements.
"Q. How many enlargements have you given them?
"Q. One last question: What kind of impression did you get from observing the flying saucer?
A. I am absolutely sure it was a controlled objecteither directly or by remote controlbut very well operated, in any case. The general impression of people aboard the ship was the same: it had come to make a close observation of the ship." Unquote.
The interview transcribed above was rechecked and confirmed by the witness. However, Mr. Barauna also talked to the press reporting additional details not mentioned previously. The more interesting were the following ones:
(1) "I cannot estimate the number of persons on the ships deck at the moment of the sighting. However, during the official investigation ordered by Com. Saldanha da Gaina, about one hundred members from the ships crew confirmed that they had sighted the UAO.
"The radar was not in operation at the time. The object was already gone when it was put to work. "I shot the six pictures in about 14 seconds." (Rio de Janeiro ULTIMA HORA, February 21, 1958)
"I was worried for a few days after an officer told me that I was under military regulations, as any civilian aboard a Navy ship, so that the film was going to be confiscated according to orders from the Navy Headquarters, at Rio. But nothing happened. Now I am convinced that he was joking." (Rio de Janeiro ULTIMA HORA, February 22, 1858)
BARAUNAS INTERROGATION AT THE NAVY MINISTRY
On February 24, 1958, the newspaper "0 GLOBO" printed an exclusive interview with Almiro Barauna about his in terrogation at the Navy Ministry. As that part of his story had not been reported yet in full detail, it is interesting to know what he said in that interview, which is transcribed below:
"I went to the Navy Ministry for a four-hour interrogation about the photographs. The negatives were projected on a large sized screen. After a careful examination by all officers from the Navy General Staff gathered at the place, the Chief of the Intelligence Service (who was the officer of highest rank there) told me the following: I am going to ask questions. Do not be offended, for I do not doubt the authenticity of your pictures. But we need your answers for some questions. Now, if you were going to fake a photo, how should it be done in order to escape detection?
Commander, as an expert in photography, I am well aware that no photo of such a kind could resist an accurate examination, was my answer.
In your opinion, said the Commander, what should be done to distinguish a faked photograph from a good one?
A laboratory examination of the negatives should be made on the following points: granulation, emulsion, and large-scale projection. The definite proof, how ever, good enough to detect any tricks, would be a microscopic examination, I said to them. It would demonstrate the increase in granulation connected with the double-exposure needed for the trick I concluded.
"After a few more questions, the intelligence officer said: We want your negatives for those examinations. Do you agree? I agreed, of course, and he got the film. These things happened three days after the arrival of the Almirante Saldanha, at the Navys Intelligence Headquarters. A few days later, the negatives were returned in an official envelope with a card informing me about the results of the analyses.
"Some days later I was called again. This time they also asked for my Rollelflex. They wanted to make tests in order to estimate, if possible, the speed of the flying saucer at the moment of the sighting. The tests were performed. They showed that I had taken my six pictures in 14 seconds, and that the saucer was flying at 900 to 1000 Km/hour. One of my photographs, taken when the saucer was hovering over the Desejado Peak, stopped in space, did not show (as they said) the turbulence in the surrounding air observed in the others with the object moving. There was a kind of vapor or condensation in front of the flying object when it was movingsimilar to that produced by the engines of a jet plane.
"At the end of the meeting, the Intelligence chief officer said he was convinced that my photos were authentic. Then he showed me another photo which had been taken by a Navy telegraphist-sergeant also at Trindade. A box camera had been used. I was surprised. That photo showed the same object seen in my pictures. It was evidently the final proof. They told me it had been taken some time before my arrival at the Island." Unquote.
ADDITIONAL REPORTS ABOUT THE INCIDENT
When the curtain of security around the sighting was broken, the Navy General Staff released special instructions forbidding the ships crew and Navy officers to have any contact with the press on the matter. The Navy authorities refused at first to make any comment on the incident. All military chiefs interviewed by the press denied any knowledge of the matter, or said that only Minister Alves Camera was entitled to say anything. Some Navy departments even tried to show a complete lack of interest, explaining that the pictures had been taken by a civilian eventually aboard a warship. On the other hand, the NE "Almirante Saldanha" remained off Rio de Janeiros harbor and finally received orders to leave Guanabara Bay "to make another trip related with IGY studies." This occurred on February 21, at a time when newspapermen were making desperate attempts to reach the crew kept aboard the ship. At the last moment before the ships departure, it was divulged that reporters were free at least to contact the crew and get their reports on the flying saucer. However, the permission was denied by a counter order, for the Navy General Staff was against it. New instructions were issued to sailors and officers aboard the ship emphasizing that no contacts with the press were permitted. That same day (Feb. 21), a Navy spokesman called the press to say that the Navy had no responsibility regarding the incident, and that no official statement was to be released about it. But he agreed that the following informationwith no official supportmight be published:
"On the morning of January 16, 1958, over the Island of Trindade, the crew of the school ship Almirante Saldanha sighted an unidentified aerial object for a few seconds. A civilian who was aboard the ship took some pictures of the object. The Navy has no connection with the case, and its only connection with the occurrence was the fact that the photographer was aboard the school ship, and came back with the ship to Rio." Unquote (ULTIMA HORA, Feb. 21)
Another spokesman, from the Navy High Staff Command, released the following statement to the newspaper 0 GLOBO, the same day:
"The news about a flying saucer sighted over the Island of Trindade were received here with utmost reserve. There will be an investigation to verify the authenticity of the sighting and photos. No officer or sailor from the NE Almirante Saldanha witnessed the event."
It was evident that the Navy authorities didnt realize the incident was too big to be concealed. Their desperate attempt to give the impression that the Navy had nothing to do with the incident was a foolish move. To deny any connection with the incident was a childish thing. The "unofficial statement" should not have been released. The press and the public already knew enough to see where the truth lay. On the other hand, the strict orders which forbade military people to give out any information on the matter did not apply to civilian observers aboard the ship. They talked to the press. Captain J. T. Viejas, from the AF (ret.), was the first to confirm Barauna s report in a press interview on February 22. His report is transcribed below:
"I was on the deck. My friend Amilar Vieira Filho suddenly called my attention to what he thought to be a big seagull. I looked toward it and was unable to control my excitement, shouting: Flying saucer! Mr. Barauna was 20 yards away with his Rolleiflex, watching the maneuvers. He heard my shouts and came runningin time to take four pictures of the object. Other people were also alerted by my alarm: a sergeant, sailors, the ships dentist (Lieutenant Captain Homero Ribeiro), and other persons. They all sighted the object. The photographer Farias de Azevedo, who was more distant, didnt come in time to get photos.
"The first view was that of a disk shining with a phosphorescent glow, whicheven at daylightappeared to be brighter than the moon. The object was about the apparent size (angular diameter) of the full moon. As it followed its path across the sky, changing to a tilted position, its real shape was clearly outlined against the sky: that of a flattened sphere encircled, at the equator, by a large ring or platform. Its speed was around 700 miles an hour at the moment it disappeared into the horizon.
"The object was sighted at 12:20 p.m., when the ship was preparing to leave the area. It caused a tremendous confusion aboard. Mr. Barauna found it very difficult to operate his camera, being pushed and pulled by excited observers around him. In fact, he was almost thrown into the sea. He got so nervous after the sighting that he needed more than an hour to calm down and be able to develop the film. However, in his excitement he forgot to rewind the film before opening the camera, and it would have been ruined if he had not been warned by an officer at the last moment.
"The negatives were immediately developed by Barauna in the presence of Com. Bacellar. The whole crew was gathered outside, waiting with great anxiety for the results. The negatives were seen by everybody on the ship.
"When the ship arrived at Rio, the negatives were taken to the Navy Ministry and projected on a screen, together with a picture of a flying saucer sent from the U. S., in a military report informing the Navy about sightings made in that country. A comparative study demonstrated that the object sighted at Trindade was similar in shape to the one photographed in the U. S.
"Flying saucers have been sighted several times in the past months by members of the Navy Post at the Island of Trindade. Some of those people observed UFOs on more than one occasion last year, and were even able to guess with accuracy the time a saucer would be sighted again over the island (the exact hour). But it was believed that they were mistaken. There are a lot of sea-gulls in that region. In any case, Corn. Bacellar was so worried about the presence of UFOs around weather balloons launched from the island that, in November 1957, he sent a radio message to the Navy reporting the strange events." Unquote (Rio de Janeiro DIARIO DA NOITE, 0 JORNAL, etc., February 22, 1958)
Captain Viegas interview was a tremendous blow for the group who still tried to keep the secrecy about the incident. The press reaction to the Navys attitude was going to be dangerous unless the policy to deny any connection with the case was changed at once. It was obvious that to forestall any more trouble the Navy had to talk freely about the facts and not try to hide them. As a result, statements of several Navy authorities were released that same day all of them confirming the sighting and the existence of the photographs. Some of these statements will be transcribed in another part of this report, but one of them will be presented nowfor it came from an officer who was aboard the NE Almirante Saldanha when the UAO was sighted.
This officer was Com. Paulo Moreira da Silva, of the Navys Hydrography and Navigation Service. He was interviewed on February 22 by reporters from the newspapers "0 JORNAL" and "DIARIO NA NOITE," releasing the following statement:
"The object sighted in the skies of Trindade was not a weather balloon, neither an American guided missile. I cannot give yet my conclusions, for the data are being analyzed in a secret evaluation at the Navy Ministry. I can tell, however, that the object was not a meteorological balloonfor the one which we had launched that day was released at 9:00 a.m., two hours before the appearance of the object in the sky. This balloon was tracked until it burst at the proper altitude. Besides, while the object was encircled by a greenish glow, our balloon was of red color. Also it was not a guided missile from the U. S., because the Island of Trindade is off the route of those rockets; they are launched from Florida in the direction of Ascension Island." Unquote
The reports from other civilian observers aboard the NE "Almirante Saldanha" were also printed in the press. One of them came from Mr. Mauro Andrade, employee of the London Bank of South America, and member of Baraunas group. In an interview published in the newspaper "0 GLOBO" (Feb. 22, 1958), he said:
"I didnt witness the sighting because I was inside the ship, not on the deck, when the object was seen. But I can give a list of responsible people who saw it and saw the photographer Barauna take the pictures as well as develop the negatives.
"I dont know how I was tracked by the press. I was startled by the publication of news and photos related with the incident because we had promised all of usto keep the whole thing secret.
"I was somewhere inside the ship, was alerted by the shouts, and ran outside to see what was happening. Yet I didnt see the object. But all people I found on deck told me that they had really sighted a flying saucer. 1 believed them, and my belief was confirmed by the film developed aboard. In fact, I saw a thing on the negatives which looked like a flying saucer, although I cannot be sure if it was really one of them. The film was developed before the eyes of witnesses, and was shown later to every one aboard." Unquote.
The other report came from Mr. Amilar Vieira Filho, president of the Icaral Club for Submarine Hunting, and member of the CACEX Research Division (a Federal Department). He avoided any contact with the press for several days, but was finally interviewed by a reporter from the newspaper "0 GLOBO" on February 27. He explained that his attitude was based on two reasons: first, the compromise assumed by the whole delegation of his Club to tell nothing about the strange sighting of January 16, at Trindade; and second, his natural aversion to any kind of publicity. However, after the Navy official release on the matter, and after the interview given by other members of his group, he felt that the silence he had imposed on himself was not justified anymore. He made the following statement:
"First, I want to make it very clear that I dont know if what I saw was really the so-called flying saucer. What I saw, in fact, was an object of gray color and oval in shape when first sighted, which passed over the island and thenemitting a fluorescent light it didnt possess beforewent away toward the horizon and was gone, vanishing just on the horizon line. Everything happened in just a few seconds, in no more than. 20 4econds, and for this reason I cannot give you more details about the curious craft. It looked like an object with polished surface and uniform color. I am sure it was not a balloon, an airplane, or a seagull."
He was not going to tell anything more, but the reporter decided to ask a last question: "Flying saucer or not, can you tell me if the strange object you sighted was the same registered on Baraunas photos?" After a brief hesitation came the answer:
"As I said before, the thing was too rapid. It was almost impossible for the human vision to fix any detail of the object. Mr. Barauna, however, was operating with a camera of modern type which was able to register those details. Generally speaking, the shape of the object sighted was the same seen on the negatives developed aboard the NE Almirante Saldanha.
The reports of Captain Viegas, Mauro Andrade, and Amilar Vieira Filho represent additional evidence confirming the story told by Almiro Barauna. They were rechecked with the witnesses and confirmed. They were not denied by the Brazilian Navy. However, two things are still lacking to meet the challenge of the UAO agnosticsthe non-believers. One of them is an official release from the Navy confirming the whole thing. The other is a written statement signed by Com. Bacellar, former chief of the Navy Post at Trindade.
These important documents will be presented in the conclusion of this report, together with other additional facts connected with the case.
The Official Attitude of the Brazilian Navy. Official Documents and Additional Evidence About the UAO Photos Taken from the NE "Almirante Saldanha"(3)
At the beginning of this report, it was said that the UAO photographs taken at the Island of Trindade were proven to be genuine, according to official statements. The first official document supporting that statement has already been presented to the reader; it was the Navy secret memorandum to the House of Representatives with the answers to the questions asked by Rep. S. Magalhaes. Two other official documents shall be presented now.
The Navy Official Release and Other Official Statements
On February 22, 1958, under pressure of public opinion and the press, the Brazilian Navy Ministry was forced to issue an official release, admitting for the first time that a UAO had been photographed over the Island of Trindade, in the presence of a number of members from the garrison of the NE "Almirante Saldanha." The document from the Navy Ministers office was the following:
"With respect to the news divulged through the press insinuating that the Navy Ministry has attempted to avoid the publication of facts connected with the appearance of a strange object over the Island of Trindade, this office declares that such information is without basis.
"This Ministry sees no reason to forbid the publication of pictures of said object, taken by Mr. Almiro Barauna who was at the Island of Trindade as a Navy guestin the presence of a number of elements from the NE Almirante Saldanha garrison, aboard that ship from which the photos were taken.
"Evidently, this Ministry cannot make any statement about the object sighted over the Island of Trindade, for the photos do not constitute enough evidence for such a purpose." Unquote (Rio de Janeiro CORREIO DA MANHÃ, ULTIMA HORA, February 23; 0 GLOBO, February 24, etc. Sao Paulo 0 ESTADO DE SAO PAULO, February 23, 1958)
That same day, a Navy spokesman told the press that the authenticity of the photos taken aboard the NE "Almirante Saldanha" was now confirmed beyond any doubt, and that those who had rejected them as proof were entirely wrong. He also stated that the whole UFO problem was being investigated and, at the end, the Brazilian Navy would release a decisive report about it. (Rio de Janeiro CORREIO DA MANHÃ, February 23, 1958)
Admiral Gerson de Macedo Soares, the Navy General Secretary, told the newspaper 0 GLOBO that what he knew about the matter was already in the papers. He concluded his statement with the following words: "I do not see any reason to doubt the reports of reliable witnesses. Personally, I believe in the reality of the flying saucers, even if they come from another planet."
Admiral Alves Camera, the Navy Minister, told the UP, on February 24, "that he didnt believe in flying saucers before, but after Baraunas photographic evidence he was convinced." The statement was made when the Navy Minister was leaving the Rio Negro Palace, at Petropolls, after his weekly meeting with the President. Minister Alves Camara, talking with newspapermen, also said that "the Brazilian Navy has a big secret which cannot be released, because it cannot be explained." He confirmed once more the authenticity of the pictures taken from the NE "Almirante Saldanha." (Credit: Asapress dispatch, of Feb. 24, published in several newspapers)
Com. Paulo Moreira da Silva, in a new press interview, confirmed his previous statement that "the mysterious object seen at Trindade, on January 16, was not a meteorological balloon." He also rejected bluntly the possibility of a hoax with the following statement:
"I do not wish to discuss the personality of the photographer who shot the pictures of the unknown object sighted by many people of recognized responsibility. I state, however, that the photos are authentic, and that the film was developed on the same occasion, aboard the NE Almirante Saldanhaand also that the image of the object on the negatives was verified, at that same opportunity, by several officers, not eight days later as it has been saidthus entirely discarding any possibility of photographic trick.
"I do not wish to advance my opinion, stating categorically that I saw a flying saucer. Yet, I can say that the UFO seen at the Island of Trindade was not a weather balloon, neither an American or Russian guided missile, nor a plane or a sea-gull...." (Rio de Janeiro 0 JORNAL, February 26, 1958)
Since the beginning of the "Flying Saucer" mystery, the attitude of various governments has been and remains fundamentally the sameflying saucers do not exist. As any serious researcher on the subject will admit, there is a deplorable tendency toward secrecy and ridicule. But good UAO reports cannot be written off. And sometimes we have something more than good circumstantial evidence. In the Trindade case, for instance, we have an official release and official statements saying that an object was sighted that it was a UAO, that it was photo graphed in the presence of witnesses, that the photos are genuineand that the object in the photo was not a balloon, an American or Russian guided missile, an airplane, or a sea-gull. . - . What was it?
Com. Bacellars Press Release
Captain-of-Corvette Carlos Alberto Ba-cellar, the C.O. of the Navy Oceanographic Post at the Island of Trindade from October, 1957, to January, 1958, was the man who rebuilt the Navy Base, and also a witness to several of the UAO sightings reported in this review. On January 16, 1958, he was aboard the NE "Almirante Saldanha" to make his return trip to Rio. He was contacted by reporter Joao Martins. In a personal report, emphasizing the fact that he was not entitled to speak in the name of the Navy, he made the following written declaration (with the approval of the Navy Ministry) about the UAO sightings at Trindade:
"1An unidentified aerial object was really seen by some people on the deck of the NE Almirante Saldanha. I was not a witness of the sighting because, at that moment, I was inside my cabin; however, I was called to the deck immediately after the event.
"2The fact caused some natural excitation and the subsequent racing of people to the ships deck, attracted by the shouts of those who sighted the object.
"3The photographer Almiro Barauna was on the deck with his camera and, after the happening, was under a deep nervous excitation. I stayed at his side all the time, in order to watch him develop the film.
"4The film was developed in a photo-laboratory prepared aboard, when Barauna was able to get his nerves under controlabout an hour after the incident.
"5The AF Captain Jose Teobaldo Viegas (retired) went with him into the darkroom, holding a flashlight during the films development, while I waited outside.
"6I saw the film immediately after it was developed, still wet, andmaking a careful examinationI was able to determine:
"(a) that the pictures preceding the sequence connected with the objects passage corresponded with scenes taken aboard a few minutes before the incident;
"(b) that, in the pictures connected with the sighting, was visible, in different positions, an image looking like the object seen later on the copieswith details which only the enlargements made afterward showed more clearly;
"(c) and that the two photos lost by Barauna because he was too nervous, or because he was pushed by other excited people around himshowed the sea and part of the Islands mountains;
"(d) the negatives referred to were seen by many people aboard.
"7Afterwards, in Rio, I called Barauna (as we had prearranged) and brought him twice to the Navy Ministry.
"8I warned Barauna against any publicity about the fact before the proper permission would be granted, and also that he would be informed as soon as the proper authorities decided to authorize the publication of the photographs.
"9The negatives were given by Barauna to Navy authorities but were later returned again to him, through myself. On this occasion, however, I said he was free to use the pictures as he wished, under certain restrictions, for they belonged to him.
"10At my request, and using paper I had supplied, Barauna prepared six complete series of the four photos and sixteen enlargements of details of the object.
"11That was the fourth time that in the forty days preceding the incident the passage of an unidentified aerial object over the Island of Trindade had been verified." Unquote
The amazing document transcribed above was printed in the magazine 0 CRUZEIRO, of May 3, 1958. It was the last official release on the UAO incidents at the Island of Trindadeand also the best. There is no doubt about the extraordinary significance of such a report, for the information included in it was the last piece of evidence we needed to prove that Baraunas photographs are genuine-and good enough to show that UAOs are real, i.e., some type of vehicle flying through our atmosphere.
Incidentally, the analysis of the photographs outside the Navy also confirmed their authenticity. As said before, Barauna s negatives were taken to the "Cruzeiro do Sul Aerophotogrammetric Service," one of the best equipped photo-laboratories in South America. On the even of February 22, 1958, Mr. Stefano (the laboratorys chief and top photography expert), together with a group of photo technicians, did a careful examination of the negatives. After several hours of rigorous tests, the commission came to the following conclusion: "It was established that no photographic tricks are involved. The negatives are normal." This written photo lab report was signed and sent to the Navy Ministry, where it was added to the UFO Secret Report which was later sent to the National Security Council. After discussing the accurate laboratory tests made in the Navy Photo Reconnaissance Laboratory and in the aerophotogrammetric lab, the top secret report emphasized that both examinations had proven that the photos were authentic. On the basis of such an evidence, concluded the report, the sighting of an unidentified aerial object in the skies of Trindade could be positively established. But the available data were not enough to make sure that the object was, in fact, a flying saucernor they added other elements to make easy its identification.
The information above was printed in the press (Sao Paulo DIARIO DA NOITE, February 22). The data related with the photo lab report were rechecked and confirmed, but only these.
This ended my investigation of Baraunas photographs. It must be pointed out, however, that the data included in the preceding paragraphs of this review do not represent the complete story of the Trindade affair. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss the details not yet reportedat least those that might contribute to a better evalualon of the whole case. They will be listed in the following pages.
Trip of Major-General Thomas Darcy
On February 22, 1958, some of Rios newspapers reported that copies of Baraunas photos had been sent to the U. S. to satisfy the request of authorities at the Pentagon. According to the information, the American embassy at Rio informed the Brazilian government about the interest they had to study the pictures and to compare them with other photos they possessed in the U. S. The Armed Forces General Staff, at Rio, had taken the necessary measures to deliver immediately the copies requested.
By a curious coincidence," an unexpected visitor arrived at Rio a days later. He came in a Pan America. airliner, on February 26. He was Major-General Thomas Darcy, the USAF representative in the Brazil-U. S. A. Joint Military Commission for Defense. In an interview with the press, at the Galeao International Airport, he said:
"The reasons for my visit to Brazil are connected with several things. One of them is related with the supply of airplanes and equipment for Brazilian anti-submarine defense. On this trip I am going to discuss with Brazilian military authorities several problems of interest to both countries. Also I will make a visit, of course, to Salvador AF Base. I am going to discuss some secret matters, too.
The newspapermen then asked for his opinion about the Trindade sightings. His answer was the following:
"In the USAF we have a well-established viewpoint about flying saucers. We came to the conclusion that 85 per cent of these UFOs can be explained as natural phenomena of atmospheric origin. Regarding the other 15 per centthe mystery still remains, and we prefer to withhold our opinions on the matter." (Rio de Janeiro 0 GLOBO, ULTIMA HORA, 0 JORNAL, etc., February 22, 1958)
Major-General Thomas Darcy, former Commander of the 22nd Tactical Air Command, during World War II, has made several trips to Brazil in past years to discuss military problems with Brazilian authorities. His last trip, however, was a surprise. Even the military didnt expect it. On the other hand, no one suspected that it might be connected with the Trindade casedespite the reference to Salvador AFB, the AF Base nearest that Island.
The Facts Reported by Members of the NE "Almirante Saldanha" Garrison
On February 24, 1958, the NE "Almirante Saldanha" arrived at Santos, S. P. Members of the crew were permitted to visit the town and there, for the first time, were contacted by the press. Their declarations were printed in two Sao Paulos newspapers (FOLHA DA TARDE and 0 ESTADO DE SAO PAULO, of February 25). All of them confirmed the passage of the UAO over the Island, watched by all members of the crew on the ships deck at the time. Several of them had been eye-witnesss of the event. A Navy sergeant who refused to tell hi name to the reporters, said that, "during". the three days preceding the arrival of the ship, many inhabitants of the Island (including authorities) had spotted the passage of the object several times. According to their reports, the UAO appeared between 10 and 11:30 a.m. over the Gab Crest, maneuvered in several directions, and disappeared into the horizonto come back just a few seconds later. It then moved away at high speed and was gone. These sightings were interesting, but the real sensation had been the incident of January 16, because of the photographic evidence supporting it."
In the course of my personal investigation, I asked some friends in the Navy to verify the sergeants story. They said the reports existed, but had been rejected due to the observers lack of qualification and brief duration of the phenomena. At my request, they also rechecked the radar report. They confirmed Baraunas report. According to the radar technicians, the ships radar set had picked up a target flying at supersonic speed the day before Baraunas sighting, at about 12:05 p.m. The operator had tried to switch the set to automatic tracking, but failed, and the strange body was not identified. However, as they were not alerted about flying saucers at that time, the radar technicians admitted the possibility of a defect in the set and rechecked it. They found that everything was normal.
Another bit of interesting information reported by reporter Paulo M. Camsos, writing in the newspaper DIARIO CARIOCA, of February 23, 1958. He said:
"I am going to tell you something about the flying saucer sighted at the Island of Trindade; something not yet printed in the papers. I cannot vouch for it, but my source is the best possible. According to my informant, more than the sighting of the flying saucer itself, what really made a deep impression on the Navy was the report that instruments Eke radio transmitters, and apparatus with magnetic needles, ceased operating while the flying object remained in the Islands proximity. The Navy decided to cansider this a top-secret fact."
Inside Navy circles, it was not possible to obtain any information of the fact. All sources interviewed by the press refused to confirm or deny the information. At my request, my Navy friends also rechecked it. They confirmed the data but failed to get further details concerning the event.
The UAO Sighted from the Tow Ship "Tridente"
In an interview with the press, Admiral Gerson Macedo Soares, the Navy General Secretary, confirmed the fact that a Navy officer had sighted a flying saucer near the coast of Espirito Santo (State). Corn. Pedro Moreira, the public relations officer for the press, confirmed the information too. It is believed that this sighting was made from aboard the Navy tow ship "Tridente," and that the ships CO. as well as several officers and sailors were the witnesses. (Rio de Janeiro CORREIO DA MANHÃ, February 25, 1958)
I must confess that I was not impressed when I read this information in the papers. Those who saw the first part of this review know that, in the beginning of my investigation of the Trindade cases, I had received information about a sighting involving a Navy tow ship. Yet, according to my source, that ship was the "Triunfo" and the incident had occurred on January 2, 1958, near the coast of Bahia. That press report was not correct, I thought.
However, just a few days later, I saw again the name "Tridente." This time it appeared in an official document, the Congressional inquiry approved by the House of Representatives (item 8) on February 27, which was already transcribed in the first part of this review. Now I was impressed. I rechecked my information but got the same answers. Yet something was wrong. I was inclined to believe that the discrepancy might be due to a confusion of names, for the lack of a better explanation. It was then that I was startled by some amazing information. Someone told me that the CO. of the "Tridente" had sighted the UAO, near the Espirito Santo coast, on the same day of the Barauna casei.e., on January 16, 1958. The same source confirmed the other sighting too.
The next thing was to try to get more data on the "Tridente" sighting. I enlisted the aid of several friends and we tried to get an account of other UAO sightings on the Espirito Santo coast that day. One of them was lucky and got a report about a similar object in that area. The sighting had been witnessed by a physician, Dr. Ezio Azevedo Fundao (Director, Surgery Service, Pedro Ernesto Hospital, Rio de Janeiro), his father, wife, and two sisters. Dr. Fundao has a summer house on the Beach Coast (Xilla Velha, Espirito Santo, half an hour out from Vitoria (the State capital). That night, the doctors car was parked on a small road beside the house, and was hit and practically destroyed by a truck. The whole family was awakened by the crash and went outside to see what had happened.
When everything was normal again, at 2:30 am., one of the doctors sisters called the attention of the others to a bright object that hovered over the Rocky Islands, at a distance of about 2400 feet from the observers and about 600 feet above the ground. It remained there, motionless, for about 40 minutes. It finally disappeared when it was covered by thick, low-flying clouds that moved across the sky.
That objects shape was exactly the same as the UAO to be photographed over the Island of Trindade less than twelve hours later. Its spherical body appeared to be translucent, with a silvery light. The ring looked like aluminum shining in the sunlight. The UAOs size was, according to the observers, like that of a "Convair" plane. A beam of light was emitted from its bottom projecting toward the sea below. This searchlight was steady and moved from one side to another.
The object was too bright to be a lighted balloon. As the night was clear, its outlines were sharply defined against the sky. It was obviously a craft of some sort. It couldnt be an airplane because airplanes dont hover in one spot, and it was not atmospheric phenomena. The observers heard no sound and they were away from all city noises.
By a coincidence or not, the beacon at the Barra lighthouse, located at the same area, collapsed at the hour the UAO was sighted to reappear only fifty minutes later. By another coincidence, the Navy tow ship "Tridente" was within about two miles of the site that same night. From the ships deck, the C.O. had spotted the object at approximately the same time.
We talked to Dr. Fundao about his sighting. He emphasized the fact that he didnt know what the UAO was, but he was sure it was something he had never seen before. . . . He was also interviewed by reporter Joao Martins, and his report was published in the magazine 0 CRUZEIRO, of June 7, 1958.
The Last Sightings on the Island of Trindade
After the happenings of January 16, 1958, the Brazilian Navy decided to set up special photographic equipment at Trindade. This camera project included automatic cameras with telephoto lenses which were to be kept ready to photograph any new UAO appearance, at any time. Technicians handling the equipment were to stay at their posts day and nighteach man being substituted by another every four hours.
I dont know if the system worked as planned. But I was informed that a UAO reappeared over the Island on March 7, 1958, in the daytime. One of the observers, a Navy doctor, tried to photograph it with his camerabut nothing appeared on the negatives.
The UAO was sighted again on October 5, 1958, at 8 pm. It was described as a luminous object, round-shaped and encircled by a bright, red glow, moving across the sky at high speed. It hovered over the Island for about 4 minutes, then it moved away toward the northeast at tremendous speed and was gone. The sentry who saw it was so scared that he forgot to alert the garrison while the object was still in sight.
These sightings were not published in the Brazilian press.
The UAO Sightings at the Island of Fernando Noronha
Fernando Noronha is another small rocky island in the South Atlantic Ocean between the Brazilian coast and the African continent. Unlike Trindade, it is placed along the route of the U. S. guided missiles fired from Cape Canaveral in the direction of Ascension Island. Because of this strategic position, the island was selected two years ago as the place for a U. S. guided missile and satellite tracking station. According to the military treaty between the two countries, the instruments set up over the island to track high, fast-moving objectsthe guided missiles and satelliteswere to be operated by American crews and Brazilian technicians working together. As soon as the tracking station was built, it was put into operation together with the already existing tracking system net.
Recently one of the Brazilian technicians working at the tracking station arrived at Rio to see his family. He stayed here for a few weeks. He told us a startling story. He said that the first UAO sightings over Fernando Noronha occurred the same day the station had begun its operations.
An ICBM had been fired from the Atlantic Missile Range in Florida, and as it roared up into the stratosphere and fell back to earth, the crews at Fernando Noronha were ready to record its flight. Suddenly a target was picked up on the radar screens. It was the rocket and the station started to track it. But a few seconds later another "rocket" was spotted moving along the same trajectory. Something was wrong. They had been called to track one rocket but the radars had picked up two rockets. A radio message was immediately sent asking for an explanation. There was no explanation, was the answer, for only one missile had been fired. The radar operators said that the second target looked real, too, but it was "explained away" as a reflection caused by an inversion layer.
The "ghost rockets" continued to be picked up, however, almost every time a guided missile was being tracked by the station. Soon it became clear that those fast-moving objects chasing the guided missiles were real too. They were sighted by every person at Fernando Noronha. Sometimes only one was spotted, sometimes they came in pairs, sometimes a whole formation including three or four unknowns was sighted. Some of them followed the rocket they were tracking during the whole tracking sequence. But others changed course and went in another direction. And a few even stopped for a time over the Island. Most of them were round-shaped and their performances showed c1early that they were UAOsnot guided missiles.
Besides the UAO activity connected with the guided missile tests, UAOs began to appear over the Island at almost regular intervals"as if they were patrolling the area," concluded our informant. He also said that all those sightings were classified, and that his name could not be used in connection with the information if it was published.
In the light of the information about the UAO activities in the area of Fernando Noronha, it is not difficult to guess what they were doing over Trindade. Taking into account all of the evaluated data, it is evident that these UAOs are spy-ships. They are keeping every guided missile test range, satellite launching base, and tracking station around this world under close watch all the time. When they detected signs of activity on Trindade they started an investigation to discover what we were doing there. For some time, they probably suspected the new base to be somehow connected with our rocket and satellite tests. As soon as the obvious peaceful character of the meteorological studies performed there was established, the UAOs abandoned the surveyto concentrate on more important targets. Fernando Noronha is one of these targets. The UAOs are still being sighted there.
These conclusions are based on the factsall of the facts related with the remarkable sequence of military UAO reports included in this review. You may accept or reject them. Yet, you cannot deny the fact that the evidence presented is more than enough to prove that UAOs are real objects. And if you are one of those who accuse UAO researchers of creating the mystery of the flying saucers, believing what they want to believe and rejecting all other possibilities, I have for you the unbiased opinion of Colonel Joao Adil de Oliveira, former head of the Brazilian Air Force investigation of these strange objects in the sky. If you cannot meet his challenge. then you shall have to revise your ideas on the subject. In an interview with the press, on February 28, 1958, he said the words that will be used to close this review. They are:
"It is impossible to deny any more the existence of flying saucers at the present time. Regarding the Trindade photographs, I see no reason for disbelief neither to admit that the photographer would dare to take the risk of a public expose of his fraud (if it was the case) nor to think that reporter Joao Martins-an expert on the matter and a responsible newspapermanwould accept the photographic evidence for publication without a previous examination to test its authenticity. And, to close the issue, the Navy High Command itself released an official note confirming the photos authenticity.
"The flying saucer is not a ghost from another dimension, or a mysterious dragon. It is a fact confirmed by material evidence. There are thousands of documents, photos, and sighting reports demonstrating its existence. For instance, when I went to the AF High Command to discuss the flying saucers I called for ten witnessesmilitary (AF officers) and civiliansto report their evidence about the presence of flying saucers in the skies of Rio Grande do Sul, and over Gravatai AFB; some of them had seen UFOs with the naked eye, others with high powered optical instruments. For more than two hours the phenomenon was present in the sky, impressing the selected audience: officers, engineers, technicians, etc. "How to doubt?" Unquote (Rio do Janeiro 0 GLOBO, Feb. 28, 1958.)
(1) Fontes, Olavo. (January, 1960). The UAO Sightings at The Island of Trindade: Part I. The A.P.R.O. Bulletin. pp. 5-9.
(2) Fontes, Olavo. (March, 1960). The UAO Sightings Over Trindade: Part II. The A.P.R.O. Bulletin. pp. 5-8.
(3) Fontes, Olavo. (May, 1960). The UAO Sightings at The Island of Trindade: Part III. The A.P.R.O. Bulletin. pp. 4-9.
Trindade CUFOS Pages
Trindade Island Photo Case Directory