Frederick Valentich was just 20 years old when he disappeared mysteriously in Australia in 1978. Valentich had been on a 125-mile training flight, when he radioed in to Melbourne Air Traffic Control, telling them he was being accompanied by something he couldn’t identity – suggesting it wasn’t an aircraft. Valentich subsequently vanished, with him and his aircraft never to be seen again. There have been a range of theories regarding the disappearance. In this article, we take a look at the full story, and look at the theories.
On October 21, 1978, Frederich Valentich was flying on a 125-mile training flight. At 7:06pm, he contacted Melbourne Air Traffic control to say an unidentified object was following him – this was despite Air Control not seeing other traffic. Valentich said he could see four bright lights that illuminated the object. He said it was moving at a fast speed – and slowly approaching him. He soon reported that he was having engine problems. When asked to identify the aircraft – Valentich responded by saying ‘it isn’t an aircraft’. The transmission was soon lost, following unidentified, ‘metallic’ noise.
Valentich himself had around 150 hours of flying experience. He had aimed for a career in the aviation industry, though due to inadequate qualifications, he hadn’t been able to join the Royal Australian Air Force. He was known to Air Traffic Control, having been involved in a number of incidents, including flying into a restricted area and intentionally flying into a cloud. Valentich’s father said that his son was an active believer of UFO’s, and was worried about a possible extra-terrestrial attack.
A sea and search rescue attempt was launched, with multiple aircrafts trying to find Valentich. In total, almost 1,000 square miles were searched, before the search was curtailed on 25th October – following four days. An investigation was launched into his disappearance. No cause was determined, though the conclusion was that the incident had been ‘fatal’ for Valentich. The only possible wreckage that has been found came in 1983, when a part of an aircraft washed up on Flinders Island near Australia. The part was deemed to have been possibly emanated from Valentich’s aircraft.
- Valentich Flew Upside Down, Leading to Crash: The most commonly believed theory is that Valentich had unwittingly started flying upside down, which caused his disorientation. His belief that he saw lights above him – which would be reflecting from the water in this case – all adds up. Moreover, Valentich may have been seeing lights from the planets Venus, Mars and Mercury. This theory believes he then crashed into water – inevitably killing him. Flying upside down could have easily happened – given that Valentich had limited experience in flying at night, and with no horizon near. But, this doesn’t explain why Valentich, nor his aircraft, were ever found – especially given the vast search area. Unless of course, Valentich’s aircraft was completely submerged.
- Valentich Staged His Own Disappearance: Melbourne Police received reports of a mysterious aircraft making an unannounced landing near Cape Otway (close to his vanishing point), on the night of his disappearance. Could this have been Valentich? Considering he never re-appeared, it would be unlikely. However, if Valentich had wanted to disappear, this would be the ideal plan, executed perfectly.
- Suicide: Perhaps Valentich had a plan to end his life – and chose to try and create a story in an effort to raise awareness of UFO’s and extraterrestrials.
- Extraterrestrial Involvement: However for many believers of UFO’s and extraterrestrials, this is an important case. Some suggest that this case is clear evidence of extraterrestrial life. Valentich’s aircraft could have been destroyed by extraterrestrials, or Valentich himself could’ve been abducted. UFO group Ground Saucer Watch shared photos taken by a local man in the area – Roy Manifold – which purportedly showed an unidentified object exiting some water near Cape Otway – on the night of Valentich’s disappearance. Many UFO enthusiasts hold this case in high esteem.
While this mysterious disappearance hasn’t received the publicity that other cases have got, it is still an interesting case. Unfortunately, it appears in most cases the incident was fatal. Valentich’s proclivity for engaging in stunts add weight to the belief that he was flying upside down – causing what he saw, before unfortunately crashing. However, for many this is evidence of the existence of extraterrestrials. Valentich was ultimately declared legally dead, and the case looks like it will never be solved.