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The Mantell UFO Incident by Pilot Captain Thomas F. Mantell in 1948.

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The Mantell UFO incident was among the most publicized early UFO reports. The incident resulted in the crash and death of 25-year-old Kentucky Air National Guard pilot, Captain Thomas F. Mantell, on January 7 1948, while in pursuit of a UFO.

Neither answer, it turned out, was correct. Declassified documents eventually disclosed that the Navy had been conducting secret balloon experiments as part of its Skyhook project, which sought to measure radiation levels in the upper atmosphere.

As Mantell pursued what he apparently thought was a spaceship, he had foolishly ascended to 25,000 feet -- a dangerous altitude for the aircraft he was piloting -- and blacked out from lack of oxygen. His F-51 spun out of control and crash-landed in the front lawn of a farmhouse near Franklin, Kentucky.

But in the days that followed the tragedy, sensational headlines fueled everyone's worst fears about flying saucers, and the Mantell incident entered UFO legend.

• READ MORE: http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/analysis_mantell_randle.pdf

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Video length: 20:47
Category: Science & Technology
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