In an interview with retired general Hernan Gabrielli Rojas, he mentioned that he had squared off against a gigantic UFO while engaging in a training flight in the skies of northern Chile.
According to Rojas, the object was the size of 10 or 15 aircraft carriers, and its presence was picked up by the radars aboard two F-5 jet fighters as well as the Cerro Moreno airport in Antofagasta.
Interviewer:What do you remember about your contact with the UFO?
Rojas: Over 20 years have gone by, this was in 1978. I was a captain and was flying a mission with two F-5 fighters. It was noon and I was flying with captain Danilo Catalán, we were both flight instructors. Accompanying us was Fernando Gomez, an avionics tech, and another trainee. The F-5 is radar equipped, and a line appeared from side to side, in other words, a trace throughout the bottom side of the screen. A trace for a surface ship, a cruiser, is approximately one centimeter long, but this line went from one side of the screen to another. I assumed the radar scope had failed, and told Danilo Catalán, but his radar also failed. I then advised the ground radar at Antofagasta and they also picked up the line.
We were engaged with these details when we looked toward the east, we were flying from north to south in the vicinity of Mejillones, and saw a deformed cigar shaped object. Deformed, like a plaintain banana. It was swathed in smoke.
Interviewer:What was the object's size?
Rojas: It was large and must have been some 15 to 20 miles away. It moved in the same direction as us. We had no missiles, guns or anything. As you can imagine, the fright was more or less considerable. We could see a large thing surrounded in smoke, and from which a vapor issued. All of this situation must have lasted some five minues. We approached the UFO but it was motionless. It neither approached nor retreated, it merely sailed parallel to us. It was quite impressive, because it was truly something strange, and something could be seen in concealment behind the smoke.
Interviewer:What happened later?
Rojas: The object then disappeared toward Easter Island at an impressive rate of speed. The sky cleared and the lines on the radar vanished. However, there had been an object physically flying there. It's not a yarn, let me tell you. It's my only experience with UFOs.
Separate Interview - August 31, 2003
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: UFOs, well…nothing better than to ask a war pilot about the experiences he’s had if he’s seen anything, but it turns out that I’ve heard talk about there being a military pilot in Antofagasta who toward the late Seventies, 1978, had been flying and ran into a very strange thing. It also turns out that the pilot became a general, retired general Hernan Gabrielli, and we’re going to talk to him about this rather interesting experience. How do you do, general? Good morning.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas - General Retired: Hello, Alejandro. Good morning to you.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: This occurred in 1978, according to one version, but what is the story about your running into a UFO while flying a warplane?
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: We were two F-5s, dual training craft, and we were returning to base after completing our mission, Cerro Moreno, noon. From Mejillones to Antofagasta, at an altitude of some 35,000' to 40,000'. I suddenly detected a radar fault and saw a line that ran side to side on the scope, and my student, Danilo Catalán, also detected the same, and curiously enough it was the ground radar, which has a large screen, that also indicated a radar fault. At that time we looked toward the part of the sky indicated on the radar screen and we saw that UFO.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: What was it exactly? What was it you managed to see? Can it be described?
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: It was visualized as a smoke covered, half deformed banana, very large, in other words, very large in plain sight. We were between 15 or 20 miles away. It was tremendously large and surrounded by a fumarole which moved in our very same direction and at the same speed as our aircraft.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: …and you felt tempted to check it out.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: We approached it carefully and… but those were good instructions. We were heading back from Attack 1, which is a combat tactic involving gun cameras, no cannon, missiles or anything else. So we approached it with caution. Unfortunately the UFO did not go away toward a single minute, so we arrived in an instant.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: But I understand that you had to ascend.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: No…
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: In order to approach, what was your position? Going upward..
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: No…we shared the same altitude, between 30,000' and 35,000'.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: But F-5s are swift airplanes. When you got near it scurried way so…
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: Of course. It’s a fighter that covers 10 nautical miles a minute, in other words, 12 miles a minute. That is the normal speed for that aircraft.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: And this object you saw, how soon did it vanish? At what speed?
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: Unimaginable, in other words, thousands of nautical miles a minute, because it vanished toward the west suddenly and the screen cleared up. In other words, all three radar screens, the ground radar, mine and Danilo’s, were operating normally, it wasn’t just a visual experience but a physical one as well, a material one, that materialized on the screen. Now, if you ask me what it is, where it comes from, don’t ask me. I haven’t the slightest idea.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: Now…is this time of sighting customary among Chilean military pilots?
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: No, they are not.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: And has any other functionary remarked that he had been flying and seen strange things?
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: Look, at that time there was also another sighting by a functionary near Calama, but no…that was the age of the Vampire aircraft.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: What’s that?
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: Vampires were wooden aircraft, and the fighter climbed to a certain number of feet and could see from below that this UFO didn’t…didn’t move. However, as the pilot climbed, he said that the object or UFO’s size was such that…
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: that it didn’t move and he could never reach it.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: He never reached it. They later sent out a pair of fighters, then an F-5 and nothing, really…
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: And they couldn’t continue climbing.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: No, they couldn’t continue their ascent.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: It reached its maximum altitude and then…
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: Fifty something thousand feet, and it had to turn back.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: And by the descriptions you recall, general, was there any similarity with the sighting you had in Antofagasta?
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: No, because this one had another shape, it had a shape…in other words, as though looking from below upward, the pilots flying at the time said it was triangular.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: Triangular…it couldn’t have been an American plane, one of those spy planes.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: I don’t think so. This was 1978. The latest thing around at the time was the SR-71, which is a U.S. spy plane, but it flies at Mach 3, so there is displacement. This thing did not move.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: Right, this thing was suspended in the air. Well, and after that you landed and must’ve had a shot of whisky, I imagine.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: No, no. There were remarks, in other words, each combat or training flight is its own story, so this was just another anecdote.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: Now, why does the FACH, Chilean Air Force, handle all of this with such secrecy, because it has in fact appeared before Congress, before parliamentarians, and everyone was deathly silent…there were no such things. All they do is create more concern, because one says:
Well, there must be something awful that the FACH, the senators and the deputies don’t want to discuss,
and in this case they were all quiet.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: Look, it’s not that there’s an unwillingness to talk, but since it is an almost intangible piece of information it cannot be handled, it cannot be processed. To tell you the truth, the base commander is informed and then the page is turned and normal activity resumes.
Alejandro Guillier - Interviewer: Right. Well, last week in Calama, a LAN airliner was flying over the weekend with the players of the Wanderers team for the big match against Cobrelola and the pilot was forced to make a spectacular turn, diving to avoid a collision. Supposedly there was no airplane there. This would also be equivalent to a UFO.
Hernán Gabrielli Rojas: Surely. In other words, if the pilots were forced into taking an evasive maneuver, with passengers aboard, it must have been something…