Almost six months after Roswell, on 7 January 1948, residents of Godman, Kentucky, reported to their local Air Force base that a large, glowing and stationary disc was hovering above the town. It took Air Force personnel some time to spot the object, but they agreed to divert a routine flight of P-51 aircraft to investigate. The flight commander, a Captain Thomas Mantell, agreed to fly to it. The aircraft gradually had to back off, as they were not equipped with oxygen masks and despite continued climbing, could not reach it. Only Captain Mantell continued. His last radio message, sent from 4600 m (15,000 feet), reported that the object was still above him. At that point, contact was lost and the remaining aircraft, which had landed to fit oxygen masks, then took off again to search for him. While they were in the air, it was reported that Mantell’s aeroplane had crashed nearby. There is little doubt that oxygen starvation had caused him to black out. As for the object he was chasing, it seems that the original observations by local residents were of the planet Venus (in the right position and just about visible in daylight), which explains why the Air Force had difficulty spotting it, whereas Mantell appears to have given tragic chase to a Skyhook balloon. This had been released in Ohio earlier in the day and flying above the 6100 m (20,000 feet) at which oxygen masks were necessary.
Last updated 10 March 2006