Frederick Valentich: The Australian Pilot Who Was Followed By A Large UFO & Was Never Seen Again

Updated: Oct 19

The mysterious disappearance of Australian pilot Frederick Valentich has baffled researchers for decades. After reporting a large UFO following him during the flight he vanished, with no trace of what happened to him. His family believes he was taken by extraterrestrials.

The story of Frederick Valentich
Frederick Valentich's last contact was with ground control explaining that a UFO was following him

Frederick Valentich had always shown a great passion for aviation since he was a child. In 1977, at the age of 18, he made the decision that he was going to become a pilot. Valentich lived in Melbourne with his parents and his younger brother, Richard, who was only 12 when Valentich went missing. Valentich is believed to have clocked up around 150 total flying hours and was certified to fly at night under special conditions.



On October 21, 1978, Frederick Valentich had planned to take his fiancee Rhonda Rushton in his Cessna 182L aircraft from Moorabbin to King Island. Rhonda got stuck at work and was unable to call him, and due to the tight schedule of the flight, Valentich had to leave without her, his plane took off at 18:19 and he flew at an air level of 1500 m.


His plane was heading towards King Island, the route he took was not over the shortest distance, but made a broken line to minimise the duration of the flight over the Bass Strait, a sea strait that separates Tasmania from the Australian mainland. 41 minutes into the flight, the aircraft reached Cape Otway and turned towards the strait.


Flight path of Frederick Valentich
Frederick Valentich’s intended flight path

At 19:06, Valentich informed the ground control service at Melbourne that he could see an unidentified aircraft that was flying faster and higher than him. The controllers confirmed that no other aircraft were flying in the area, and all the radars confirmed that he was flying alone.


Valentich explained to ground control that he definitely had a large flying object following him, detailing how it disappeared from his view only to return again. He described how the craft had what appeared to be four landing lights and was long, he said it was shiny and metallic in appearance.



Toward the end of his communication with ground control, Valentich said that the object was orbiting above him, before hovering, and was not an aircraft. Several seconds later a signal disturbance was heard on the radio and then all communication was lost.

Audio Recording Between Frederick Valentich And Ground Control


It is now over 43 years since Frederick Valentich and his plane vanished, and what happened to him still remains a mystery.


Authorities launched a search operation around the Bass Strait and on King Island which yielded no results and no answers, the initial search continued until October 25.


The Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development carried out a separate investigation that lasted for 3.5 years. However, on April 27, 1982, the investigation was ended with a verdict and reason for the disappearance of the aircraft as "not been determined."


Richard Valentich (Frederick's brother) said that there was no family fixation on UFOs, "The concept of a UFO taking my brother is very far out there," he said.


At the time it was reported that authorities had attempted to destroy all records of the flight, people have come forward and claimed that was done with the intention of announcing that on October 21, 1978, there was no such flight at all.



The original full-length recording of Valentich's communication with ground control disappeared, in 2008 the BBC made a formal request for the original audio recording from the Australian Ministry for Infrastructure but they never received it.


By the end of 1978, there had been dozens of separate reports of unusual lights and strange objects flying in the sky over the western part of the Bass Strait.


In 1998, it became known that there were three witnesses, who on October 21, 1978, watched from the shore as a light-engine aircraft flew over the Bass Strait that appeared to be being pursued by bright green lights in the sky.


On the day of Frederick Valentich's disappearance, a plumber by the name of Roy Manifold claimed to have taken a photograph of a fast-moving object exiting the water close to the Cape Otway Lighthouse, the photo was not clear enough to ever identify what the object could have been.


Roy Manifold UFO photograph
Roy Manifold UFO photograph

Researchers claimed that they had managed to find more than 20 people who were close to the coast of Cape Otway on the day of Valentich's disappearance, who confirmed they had seen an unidentified object in the sky.


Frederick Valentich is still officially listed as a missing person. His brother Richard is convinced that he was abducted by extraterrestrials. Detailing in many interviews that what happened to Frederick could not possibly have been staged and has no rational explanation.



This story is certainly fascinating and the truth as to what happened to Frederick Valentich is as much of a mystery today as it was back in 1978.


Now you have read about Frederick Valentich, make sure you check out the story of Simon Parkes, the UK politician who claims to have fathered an alien baby.




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