A great controversy shrouds the death of Captain William Schaffner, a USAF pilot on exchange duties with the Royal Air Force who on a dark evening in September 1970 lost his life during a supposed military exercise. Some say he encountered a UFO, others say he perished in the cold waters of Britian’s North Sea. Although his suirvings sons have accepted the militarys report on the evenings events, UFO enthusiasts claim government cover up as many questions have been left unanswered. On this evening a series of events occurred leaving in its wake questions and gaping holes in stories put forth by military intelligence, however it was Capt. Schaffner who was the one to pay the price. Will his story or the events ever be fully put to rest?
The UFO enthusiasts seemed to have researched this and come to some interesting conclusions surrounding the events. With the miscommunications, shredded military files and their version of the last radio contact as well as witnesses that in the beginning seemed to concur, the events seemed to be extraterrestrial in nature.
This is their version:
It seems the UFO connection did not become apparent until 1992 when the Grimsby Evening News, published two sensational articles by assistant editor Pat Otter. As a cub reporter in 1970 Otter had covered the fruitless search for the pilot’s body. When the mystery was revived two decades later in a local book the paper received a call from a man claiming to be a member of the original RAF crash investigation team which examined the remains of the Lightning. Otter was later to claim he never believed the man’s story, but felt it was too good not to publish when he came up against a wall of official denials. Otter’s source – who wished to remain anonymous – claimed there had been a dramatic increase in radar tracking of UFOs over the North Sea during the autumn of 1970 which led the RAF to mount a special operation. At 8.17pm on 8 September radars in the Shetlands tracked an unidentified target above the North Sea and Lightning interceptors were scrambled from RAF Leuchars to engage. But before they could get near the UFO turned sharply, increased its speed to a fantastic 17,400 mph, and vanished from the radar screens. According to the source higher command levels within NATO were now alerted and aircraft from three squadrons were ordered to remain on patrol in case the “thing” returned. It did, and during the course of the night several UFOs were detected. Each time they shot away at high speed before the RAF could approach them.
According to both Otter and Dodd, Schaffner took off in Lightning XS-894 not long after he had returned from a training mission. The UFO was now being tracked on radar about ninety miles east of Whitby and Schaffner was quickly vectored onto it. The information about what happened next was taken from a transcript provided by the RAF “source” that purported to be describing the actual interchange between Schaffner and the radar controller at RAF Patrington on the Yorkshire coast. According to the transcript, Schaffner could see a bluish conical shape which was so bright he could hardly look at it. This UFO was accompanied by an object resembling a large glass football.
As Schaffner closed in, describing the object before him, he suddenly exclaimed: “Wait a second, its turning…coming straight for me….am taking evasive action….” At that point the controller lost contact and Schaffner’s radar plot merged with that of the UFO for a while before losing altitude and disappearing from the scope. Schaffner’s plane was found one month later on the bed of the North Sea with the cockpit still closed. There was no sign of the pilot’s body. This is a case with massive political implications if any of it is true. It was also an event that resonated with other stories concerning mysterious so called “vanishings” that have become part of Fortean mythology
This was the Military’s Final explanation:
1. It was not a UFO but a slow moving Shackleton reconnaissance aircraft that the Captain was trying to intercept on an exercise. 2. Its crew had lost radio contact. Then, by the light of a flare, they’d seen the aircraft in the water. 3. The Captain had simply flown too low trying to get beneath his target and hit the sea. 4. Captain Schaffner had not been properly trained to carry out the exercise he had been asked to undertake. When he tried to bail out, his ejector seat failed to operate.
These simple statements release after inquiry above appears to suggest that the crash was an unfortunate accident with a plausible explanation.
However the Lightning aircraft was recovered months after the crash from the seabed. Remarkably, it was virtually undamaged. Not only was it almost fully intack the cockpit canopy was shut but there was no sign of Captain Schaffner’s body.
So the unusual condition of the wreckage along with other factors fuel UFOlogists speculations of an alien abduction. The theory between both sides continues to this day, but the message written to the public by the Captains son below leaves little to further pursue as he has come to acceptance with the release of military reports.
Message to everyone left on a thread by Captain Schaffners son Micheal : These are his written words:
Michael Schaffner, My name is Michael Schaffner. I am the youngest son of Captain William Schaffner. I would like to thank Ian Cundall and the rest of the team for helping us put an end to this “mystery”. Having read some of the comments that have been posted I would like to take this opportunity to respond. For many, this has become a complicated question of conspiracy theories, allegations, deceptions and the like.However, I think that this is a situation that best illustrates Ockham’s Razor: the simplest answer is usually the best. It is an unusual stretch of the imagination to believe that UFOs and government coverups are responsible for the tragic death of my father. This is especially true having read the Summary Report of the RAF concerning this accident. Contrary to the assertions made by UFO “enthusiasts”, it is far simpler, and more logical, to understand these events in their factual context.
My father simply did not notice that he had lost altitude while trying to decelerate to the proper intercept vector. Given the inclement weather, poor instructions, improper training, and overall stress of flying at high speed and high G, it is no stretch of the imagination to believe that he simply made a mistake. I am completely satisfied that my father died because of a chain of unfortunate events, none of which had anything to do with someone’s subjective need to believe in UFO’s.
Although I do not doubt that there is life outside of our terrestrial realm, there has been no substantial evidence demonstrated by these “enthusiasts,” such as Tony Dodd, to support their claims concerning my father. Not one single, solitary shred of objective proof. I challenge any of these enthusiasts to support any element of their claim with germaine evidence. Their assertions that “they will (n)ever get to the bottom of what happend because the RAF will never accept that a UFO could be involved,” is only begging the question. They should be ashamed to call themselves UFOlogists, a name that insinuates professionalism and qualified academic study. I would suggest that they are no more qualified to study UFOs than the average public school student. To say anything more is a waste of breath. To those of you who still doubt, rest assured that there is no story here. Only the tragic death of a beloved father who is truly missed and who will never be forgotten.
The Secret Files