A Navy pilot says he encountered a mysterious aircraft off the coast of San Diego in 2004 and video from the Department of Defense has kicked talk of UFOs and the possibility of alien life into overdrive.
The New York Times shared an interview with now retired Cmdr. David Fravor on Saturday amid news that, for the first time, a spokesperson confirmed that a program to research UFOs existed at the Pentagon. Fravor’s encounter was one the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was investigating, according to reports by The New York Times and The Washington Post.
This is what Fravor says happened. He and another pilot were with the USS Nimitz training in F/A-18F Super Hornets about 100 miles out in the Pacific Ocean when someone on the Navy cruiser USS Princeton contacted them by radio about mysterious aircraft.
The ship had been tracking objects that were described as being whitish, 40 feet long and shaped like Tic Tacs that would appear suddenly 80,000 feet up, then descend toward the ocean and hover at 20,000 feet before dropping out of radar range or blasting back up.
The ship and the pilots worked together to track one of the aircraft and when Fravor got close enough to examine one, it peeled away.
“It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he told The New York Times. “I have no idea what I saw.”
Here’s the video captured by one of the pilots.
The video was made public by the Department of Defense thanks to intelligence officer Luis Elizondo who says he wanted to shed light on the secret program that analyzed UFO sightings. A DoD spokesperson told The New York Times that the program — which was funded by Congress with tens of millions of dollar annually — ended in 2012.
“It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding, and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change,” a Pentagon spokesman, Thomas Crosson, said.
News that the secret program existed and video of the San Diego-area encounter were discussed in earnest on social media, though some felt the news wasn’t getting enough attention. Here’s a look at the discussion.