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The disappearance of Captain Schaffner

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The disappearance of Captain Schaffner

During the Cold War, the UFO phenomenon became a real problem for the command of enemy military aircraft. One after another, there were reports of the observation of unidentified objects in various parts of the planet. In 1970, a British Air Force pilot, William Schaffner, flew to intercept one of these objects and never returned. A month later, his fighter was found at the bottom of the North Sea, and his cockpit was never opened — the pilot seemed to have disappeared from it…

The disappearance of Captain Schaffner

Captain Schaffner's last voyage

At the height of the Cold War, NATO forces in Europe were constantly waiting for the approach of Soviet aviation equipment. Almost every day, the Soviets tested the effectiveness of Western radars and their ability to quickly respond to an invasion from the East. During this tense situation, the UFO phenomenon has been a headache for both sides for 40 years. At the center of this game of "cat and mouse" were the crews of fighter jets, whose job was to intercept unidentified aircraft and eliminate them if necessary. Every minute, every day, several crews were on full alert at airfields along the east coast of Great Britain and were ready to take off to participate in an air battle with enemy aircraft.

One dead of night in September 1970, Captain William Schaffner, a USAF pilot who was serving in the British Air Force under contract, flew out with the task of intercepting one of these aircraft in Lincolnshire. This flight was his last and was shrouded in mystery, which opened its curtain only in 2005 when the British Ministry of Defense released a freely available report on this tragedy to the National Archives.

Captain Schaffner

William Schaffner was 28 years old on the day of the tragedy. He was a fairly experienced pilot who managed to participate in the military conflict in Vietnam. Early in the morning of September 9, 1970, employees of the British Air Force military base informed his family that he had flown on a combat mission and his plane had crashed over the waters of the North Sea. The rescue operation lasted two days, but during the search for the boat and the coast guard could not find any traces of the accident. Part of the wreckage of the plane was found at a considerable distance from the alleged crash site, but no one found the body of Captain Schaffner. The mysterious circumstances of his death will soon form the basis of the materials on the case of his disappearance.

The investigators of the British Air Force conducted their own investigation, and the report on it included such sensitive information that it was published under the heading "Secret". As a result, the story began to grow with rumors about what exactly happened to the captain. The most daring version suggested that the pilot came into contact with a UFO in the airspace and as a result was abducted directly from the cockpit of his plane. Air Force officials are still classifying information about the names of the pilots who were raised to intercept that day. The fact that Schaffner died under tragic circumstances was the only definite one at that time. But, over the years, it was he who became the cornerstone around rumors and gossip that suggested a connection between the fact of Schaffner's death and the UFO phenomenon.

For the first time, the suggestion of a UFO connection with the death of Schaffner was expressed in 1992 in an article by the assistant editor of the Grimsby Evening News, Pat Otter. As a journalist, he covered the events in 1970, when a search group was trying to find the captain's body. When he resumed investigating the incident two decades later, he received a call from a man who identified himself as a member of the Air Force search team that was investigating Schaffner's disappearance. This person admitted that he never believed in the official version of this event. The source said that in 1970, the British Air Force dramatically increased radar tracking of UFOs over the North Sea, the results of which forced the military to conduct an operation to intercept an unknown object that night.

Captain Schaffner's Fighter Jet

Captain Schaffner's Fighter Jet

At 8:17 am, radars located on the Shetland Islands recorded an unidentified target over the North Sea and the fighters of the Leushar Air Force Base were lifted into the sky to intercept. But before they could reach the target, the UFO abruptly changed its course, increased its speed to 17,400 miles, and disappeared from radar screens. A NATO squadron of three fighters was ordered to remain on patrol in case the "object" returned. And so it happened – several UFOs were discovered during the night. Every time the pilots tried to approach the objects, they were moving away from them at great speed.

In his book "Alien" (1999), former police Sergeant Tony Dodd shared the results of his own investigation of this UFO incident. His own sources claimed that several early detection and tracking systems of military bases, including the Flingdales Air Force Base in the UK and NORAD HQ in Cheyenne Mountain in the US, were put on full alert, and it became known that President Nixon himself was actively monitoring the operation. According to Dodd's testimony, Schaffner took the helm of the Lightning XS - 894 aircraft sometime after he returned from a training flight. The radar of his plane recorded a UFO ninety miles east of Witband, and Schaffner moved to meet him. Information about what happened next was taken from a transcript provided to Dodd by a source from the Air Force. This transcript consisted of conversations between Schaffner and the Patrington Air Force Base, in Yorkshire.

According to the transcript, Shafner noticed a bluish conical object that was so bright that he could not look at it. This object was accompanied by another UFO, resembling a large glass shape. When Schaffner approached the object, he suddenly exclaimed: "The object is moving right at me! I'm trying to evade!". At that moment, the dispatcher lost contact with the captain, and on the radar, it was noticeable how Schaffner's plane merged with this UFO for a while, after which the object lowered its altitude and disappeared from the screen.

UFO sightings

Schaffner's plane was found a month later at the bottom of the North Sea with the cabin closed. No traces of the pilot and his body were found inside the cockpit. This case is perhaps one of the most controversial in the history of Ufology and during the multiple individual amateur and professional investigations has grown a lot of rumors and guesses…

Related tags:

Cold War  UFO  UFO phenomena  UFO phenomenon  UFOlogy  UFOs  1970  William Schaffner  Lincolnshire

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