On a clear afternoon in October of 1978, Frederick Valentich disappeared in a Cessna 182 while flying across Australia's Bass Strait. At the time of his disappearance, he was narrating to Melbourne Air Traffic Control a detailed description of a UFO that was flying close to his plane.
Australian authorities refused to release the full text of the report on the incident, and it was claimed to have been lost. However, Australian UFO investigator Keith Basterfield has located the report in governmental archives, and it has been made available to the public--but 'need to know' material apparently remains secret.
Valentich was extremely interested in UFOs, and actually had a collection of UFO photographs with him when his plane encountered the unknown object. As late as 1982, his father, Guido Valentich was still appealing to authorities for information about the cause of the crash. In a ‘Note for File,’ deposited on December 15, 1982, J. C. Sandercock of the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation commented that "he claimed that he wanted to know the true cause of the accident." Mr. Sandercock added that "I told him I would 'think' on it and get back to him." These comments appear on page 30 of the online file. On page 32, a handwritten record from Sandercock states "Discussed release of A/AISR (Valentich) with A/AISI (Woodward) on a need-to-know basis. He agreed no further release to be made by PRO Vic/Tor TO ANYBODY." (caps = underlining in the original document.)
Later in the document release, the head of the Transportation Authority suggests asking the Minister of Defense to investigate the possibility that Valentich had a UFO encounter. There is no record among the released documents of whether or not such a request was ever initiated.
However, the discovery of parts of the aircraft in the Bass Strait five years after the incident rules out the widely repeated speculation that the incident involved a staged disappearance by Valentich.
He had reported on takeoff that he was picking up passengers and cargo in Tasmania, but no such passengers or cargo were waiting for him there, leaving his motive for making the flight in the first place a mystery.
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To access the document release, click here.