Kidnapped by Aliens: The Pilot Who Vanished During Close Encounter

Kidnapped by Aliens: The Pilot Who Vanished During Close Encounter


On the night of October 21, 1978 Frederick Valentich radioed into air traffic control in Melborne with some strange news.  An unidentified metallic craft was toying with his Cessna as he flew over the Bass Strait en route to King’s Island.  No one ever saw him or his aircraft again.

It all happened during the largest wave of UFO sightings Australia had ever seen.  Over fifty reports were uncovered from the area of Valentich’s disappearance on that day alone.  Some reported classic cigar-shaped craft while others saw a “starfish-shaped” object with lights that looked like “silver rain.”  Electronic interferance was noted in a number of these reports.

Some witnesses even said they saw a “green light” shadowing Valentich’s aircraft on the night in question (take note of that for later).


Valentich left a looming legacy of his final moments with a this bizzare yet compelling radio transmission:

19:06:14 DSJ [Valentich]: Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet. Is there any known traffic below five thousand?

FS [Flight Services; Robey]: Delta Sierra Juliet, no known traffic.

DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet, I am, seems to be a large aircraft below five thousand.

19:06:44 FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, What type of aircraft is it?

DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet, I cannot affirm, it is four bright, and it seems to me like landing lights.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet.

19:07:31 DSJ: Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet, the aircraft has just passed over me at least a thousand feet above.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, and it is a large aircraft, confirmed?

DSJ: Er-unknown, due to the speed it’s travelling, is there any air force aircraft in the vicinity?

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, no known aircraft in the vicinity.

19:08:18 DSJ: Melbourne, it’s approaching now from due east towards me.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet.

19:08:41 DSJ: (open microphone for two seconds.)

19:08:48 DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet, it seems to me that he’s playing some sort of game, he’s flying over me two, three times at speeds I could not identify.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what is your actual level?

DSJ: My level is four and a half thousand, four five zero zero.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet and you confirm you cannot identify the aircraft?

DSJ: Affirmative.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, stand by.

19:09:27 DSJ: Melbourne, Delta Sierra Juliet, it’s not an aircraft it is (open microphone for two seconds).

19:09:42 FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, can you describe the – er – aircraft?

DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet, as it’s flying past it’s a long shape (open microphone for three seconds) cannot identify more than it has such speed (open microphone for three seconds). It’s before me right now Melbourne.

19:10 FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, roger and how large would the – er – object be?

19:10:19 DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet, Melbourne, it seems like it’s chasing me. What I’m doing right now is orbiting and the thing is just orbiting on top of me also. It’s got a green light [emphasis mine] and sort of metallic like, it’s all shiny on the outside.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet

19:10:46 DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet (open microphone for three seconds) It’s just vanished.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet.

19:11:00 DSJ: Melbourne, would you know what kind of aircraft I’ve got? Is it a military aircraft?

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, Confirm the – er – aircraft just vanished.

DSJ: Say again.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, is the aircraft still with you?

DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet; it’s (open microphone for two seconds) now approaching from the south-west.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet

19:11:50 DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet, the engine is rough-idling. I’ve got it set at twenty three twenty-four and the thing is (coughing).

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what are your intentions?

DSJ: My intentions are – ah – to go to King Island – ah – Melbourne. That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again (open microphone for two seconds). It is hovering and (open microphone for one second) it’s not an aircraft.

FS: Delta Sierra Juliet.

19:12:28 DSJ: Delta Sierra Juliet. Melbourne (open microphone for seventeen seconds).

These final seventeen seconds of open transmission revealed only a “metallic, scraping sound” on the Melbourne Service Unit’s tape recording.  Despite analysis by a former NASA researcher and the Royal Melbourne Institue of Technology, these sounds remain a mystery.

Roy Manifold's Photograph

Roy Manifold’s Photograph

Many theories have come forward regarding Frederick’s fate.  Some suggest suicide (although he was by all accounts a content man), others a faked death to collect on life insurance (yeah, like I’ve never heard that one before), and of course others that he was disintegrated or abducted by the UFO.Frederick’s father, Guido Valentino, actually found some consolation in the abduction theory after his son’s out-of-this-world disappearance.  According to the AP, “He hoped his son had been taken by a UFO and had not crashed. ‘The fact that they have found no trace of him presents a possibility that UFOs could have been there.'”

The final piece of this puzzle is the photograph taken by Roy Manifold.  He had set up a timelapse camera to capture the sunset off the coast, but found something strange when developed.  There appeared to be an unexplained object with an “exhaust cloud” in one of his pictures.  According to Roy, these were taken just 20 minutes before Valentich’s last transmission.  Experts at an Arizona-based UFO organization analyzed the photos and concluded that the object must be moving at 200 mph, or hovering stationary while the clouds zoomed past at that speed (an equally puzzling feat).  Below is an enhanced version of the original photograph, provided for your scrutiny.

Could this be the UFO that kidnapped Frederick Valentich?

Anomaly in Manifold's photo enhanced

Anomaly in Manifold’s photo enhanced


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  1. Conquistador3

    03/24/2013 at 6:25 AM

    Last year researcher Keith Basterfield “stumbled” upon the Valentich dossier while doing unrelated research in NZ government archives.
    In 2004 he had made a FOI request for this dossier, only to be told it had been “lost or destroyed”.

    What new light does this dossier shed on the case? In 1983 parts of the Cessna 182 wreckage were found in the Bass Strait. Also during the search operation in 1978 an aircraft pilot had spotted some debris which could be part of the Cessna. However these sunk before a boat could arrive to recover them.

    This allows us to draw a single conclusion: Valentich didn’t fake his disappearance. His kite went down and most likely he went down with it. That’s all.

    Basterfield has apparently put the blame on some bureaucratic mix-up but there’s a darker side in the story. Valentich’s father was allowed to listen to the control tower tape but was ordered to keep the story for himself. Why? The original tape is apparently still in existence but won’t be released for study. Is this a cover up or just another case of bureaucracy at work (about which Jenny Randles gave ample warning to would be UFO researchers)?

    The most fascinating yet bizarre theory floating around is Valentich was (illegally) attempting some aerobatics, saw his reflection in the water, became scared/disoriented and crashed into the sea. The 182 has a gravity fed fuel system which makes any attempts at aerobatics hard to say the least for an average pilot as the engine quickly becomes starved for fuel. Not to mention the airframe is not stressed for proper aerobatics and in six minutes Valentich would have either crashed multiple times or regained control.

    Personally, and this is very personal, I believe for whatever reason Valentich staged an elaborate suicide. He was well read in UFO literature and could have come up with a story believable enough for the public at large and his own family.

    • Fp

      03/24/2013 at 1:17 PM

      Interesting write up, I have heard of the Valentich disappearance but have never seen the radio transcript.

      By the way Conquistador3, where did you find out that Valentich was well read in UFO lit? Was this reported at the time?

      • Conquistador3

        03/25/2013 at 1:44 AM

        His father said as much in an interview.

    • Pavel Chichikov

      03/25/2013 at 1:44 PM

      What motive?

    • Mr. Nobody

      03/25/2013 at 7:11 PM

      I agree 100 %. Also as to the “unexplainable” sound….not to make fun but I kind of LOL @ that phrase. I question anytime someone uses the term “unexplainable”. This often is defined by people as beyond our means. In reality it is often something simple, yet outside our imagination. For all we know it is the sound of the microphone being splintered into a thousand pieces before ending recording (as the plane hits the water). Suicide is a distinct possibility, especially considering the apparent paucity (WADR) of *similar* alien attack plane crashes in recent memory. Sure there may be a few odd disappearances, but I would say *very few* cases of pilots reporting UFOs and then disappearing / crashing.

  2. BigB

    03/25/2013 at 2:24 PM

    The Australian government released the papers into Frederick Valentich disappearance last year. They indicated he had an interest in UFOs. When investigators interviewed Valentich’s girlfriend, and asked what the noise on the tape could possibly be, she said it might be him adjusting his seat. The Valentich case was discussed in a late 1970s episode of “In Search Of.” You can do a search on YouTube for the terms “UFO Australia” and “In Search Of” to vie the video that also includes an interview with Guido Valentich, Frederick’s father.

    • Mr. Nobody

      03/25/2013 at 7:14 PM

      I hadn’t even read your comment about the speculation on the sound being his seat adjusting before posting my comment citing the possibility of it being something “mundane and not thought of”.

  3. Cassandra Morrison

    03/25/2013 at 5:53 PM

    Actually, Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack covered the Valentich disappearance quite thoroughly. Including providing a dramatization based on the transcript of his communication with the Traffic Control Tower.

    That episode was broadcast in 1993 and no plane wreckage had been spotted or recovered up to that time (Valentich disappeared in 1978) and there is no reason to believe any wreckage sighted AFTER the ’93 broadcast would be his plane.

    You can find it here now that YouTube was forced to remove all episodes of “Unsolved Mysteries.”

    • Expat

      03/27/2013 at 1:53 PM

      Unsolved Mysteries – What season and which episode. These are all available online. I will post a link when I know which episode to look for. If it aired in 93, it was likely season 7 or 8.

  4. jamesrav

    03/26/2013 at 11:06 AM

    this is old news, a google search shows this same topic was covered last year. The best analysis is that he was not really qualified to fly at night over water, saw Venus (very bright) and got into a spiral without even knowing it (easy to do apparently). His mention of “orbiting” seems like a strong clue this is what happened.

    • Mr. Nobody

      03/26/2013 at 5:23 PM

      Wow what a well informed analysis. Venus always moves at speeds greater than the craft you’re in..especially if one is disoriented?! You are a pathetic troll to come here to complain on the “old news”. I think even a disoriented individual could tell the difference between Venus and something supposedly orbiting within tens-hundreds of feet of him. Honestly…it takes ALL kinds.

    • Expat

      03/27/2013 at 1:55 PM

      Venus? You’re barmy. It was obviously swamp gas or a weather balloon.

      • Greg Newkirk

        03/27/2013 at 2:13 PM

        It’s always swamp gas and weather balloons.

        • Ken Summers

          03/27/2013 at 3:05 PM

          I get really sick of hearing about “swamp gas” as an excuse for different things. Someone please show me one science paper written up on swamp gas phenomena or scientific explanation that doesn’t conclude it might happen and last just a couple seconds. Also, methane flames fall in the blue end of the color spectrum, not to mention that it needs an ignition source.

          End of rant.

      • 12451ewesw421356

        11/26/2013 at 12:02 AM

  5. Ben

    08/30/2013 at 7:52 PM

    Don’t pilots become delusional? Fred may have felt fatigued. Suicides are different than this. I don’t believe in ufos. What he saw may have been a reflection and crashed by trying to avoid what he believed was an aircraft toying him.

  6. Pingback: Expanded Perspectives » Pilot Encounters with UFOs, The Stranger that worked at the Pentagon, Amazing Listener Story

  7. thomas lewis

    11/26/2014 at 7:56 AM

    Lets use a little common sense, a advanced civilization decides to observe Earth a little closer,this after traveling light years from another star system,only to play chicken with a human in a old airplane,causing the engine to malfunction and crash.I don’t believe it,it makes no sense.

  8. rhonda pirillo

    11/28/2014 at 1:10 AM

    i feel that i see n this ufo in atlantic city n.j. usa about 3 am on our time. yes i did it was huge had a big green light on top shinny gold metallic sau cer shaped rotating body . i had a n undercover cop with me he would not look at it. it hoovered over the bay about 20 mins large enough to hold 5 of our aircraft in. when the door opened i woul dnt look i was scared. i often thought a bout this but everytime i told someone they thought i was a wacado. its been a bout 38 years now but i wanted to let you know it was a ufo

  9. winchester

    07/11/2016 at 11:15 PM

    he was abducted by hyper dimensional beings and consumed for parts

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