1970 Cold War UFO Mystery: British Fighter Jet Crash & Missing Body Of USAF Pilot


The whole world is aware of the mysterious disappearance of Australian pilot Frederick Valentich whose family is still hoping that he would come back one day. Before vanishing, he reported seeing a mysterious object in the sky. Unfortunately, his body has never been recovered, and he is still listed as the missing person. A similar disappearance happened 52 years ago at the height of the Cold war when an RAF fighter jet crashed off the British coast that flew by the 28-year-old US Air Force pilot

At the time of the Cold war, British Royal Air Force (RAF) had to keep a watchful eye over the North Sea to detect any unidentified aircraft. The British military had aircraft ready on the east coast of the UK to intercept any intruders. During that time, Soviet aircraft were frequently deployed to the North sea to test the reaction of NATO fighters. On the night of September 8, 1970, an unknown contact was detected by a radar operator at Saxa Vord heading southwest over the North Sea. The object continued changing the directions and altitude before disappearing from the radar.

William Schaffner
US Air Force Pilot William Schaffner

The object reappeared and that time, it was intercepted by the RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire. US Air Force Pilot William Schaffner (28) at the British military base took off his Lightning F6 (XS894) fighter jet, flying over Grimsby and headed over the North Sea en route to Flamborough. At around 10:30 pm, after a few miles of flight, his plane crashed into the sea, south of Flamborough. A search and rescue operation was carried out and four weeks later, Royal Navy divers revealed that the plane had been found but there was no trace of the pilot.

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The plane was brought to the surface only in December but surprisingly, the canopy over the cockpit was closed and the cockpit was empty. Still, Captian Schaffner was declared dead. His sons, Glenn and Mike Schaffner have been trying for years to find out the truth about their father’s disappearance, but to no avail.

William Schaffner plane UFO crash mystery
Newspaper reports about the incident in 1970. Image credit: Grimsby Telegraph

The unusual crash and missing body of the pilot sparked several rumors on his disappearance that even included alien abduction. In October 1992, the story of Schaffner’s mysterious disappearance surfaced when a series of articles by Assistant Editor Pat Otter were published in the daily British regional newspaper “Grimsby Telegraph.” He argued that new evidence emerged in this case and that the real reason behind the crash of the British fighter jet and the disappearance of the US pilot involve the UFO.

According to Otter, he received that information from unknown military sources, which tracked the path of the movement of this object along the coast and beyond. Here is the last transcript of the conversation between Captian Schaffner and the radar station at Staxton Wold:

  • Staxton: Can you identify aircraft type?
  • Schaffner: Negative, nothing recognizable, no clear outlines. There is… bluish light. Hell, that’s bright… very bright.
  • Staxton: Are your instruments functioning, 94? Check compass. Over
  • Schaffner: Affirmative, GCl. I’m alongside it now, maybe 600ft off my… It’s a conical Shape. Jeeze, that’s bright, it hurts my eyes to look at it for more than a few seconds.
  • Staxton: How close are you now?
  • Schaffner: About 400ft, he’s still in my three o’clock. Hey wait… there’s something else. Its like a large soccer ball… it’s like it’s made of glass…
  • Staxton: Is it part of the object or independent? Over.
  • Schaffner: It… no, it’s separate from the main body… the conical shape… it’s at the back end, the sharp end of the shape. Its like bobbing up and down and going from side to side slowly. It may be the power source. There’s no sign of ballistics.
  • Staxton: Is there any sign of occupation? Over.
  • Schaffner:. Negative, nothing.
  • Staxton: Can you assess the rate…?
  • Schaffner: Contact in gentle descent. Am going with it… 50… no about 70ft… it’s leveled out again.
  • Staxton: Is the ball object still with it? Over.
  • Schaffner: Affirmative. It’s not actually connected… maybe a magnetic attraction to the conical shape. There’s a haze of light. Ye’ow… it’s within that haze. Wait a second, its turning… coming straight forĀ· me… shit… am taking evasive action… a few… I can hardl…
  • Staxton: 94? Come in 94. Foxtrot 94, are you receiving? Over. Come in 94. Over.

Further newspaper reports stated that all the investigation had been completed but it was alleged that the real cause behind the Schaffner plane crash was deliberately hidden. In July 1994, the Grimsby Telegraph featured an article about the mass of alleged UFO sightings which took place over the region in 1970. It was claimed that a top-secret operation “Operation Aeneid” was launched in an attempt to track, photograph, and ascertain what had happened.William Schaffner plane UFO crash

In 2002, Captain William Schaffner’s sons, Mike and Glenn, made another attempt to look at the official files of their father’s disappearance. In the end, they got the files declassified, but the disclosed documents only indicated that the incident was just an accident. It plausibly explained that the glass cockpit was tightly closed by itself when the plane landed at the bottom of the North Sea. Nevertheless, for obvious reasons, the case of William Schaffner is still widely considered and studied by ufologists and many curious people who are not satisfied with the official version of the incident.


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