- By Cristina Carraz 'El Tribuno' de Salta - Argentina
July 21, 2002
- An unidentified flying object (UFO) of large size and intense
luminosity was seen on Monday between 20:50 and 21:30 hrs. in the town
of Campamento Vespucio, seven kilometers west of General Mosconi and approximately
350 km to the north of the Saltan capital. The event caused a sensation
in this community, which not long ago was the hydrocarbon-producing capital
of the Argentinean northwest and which is half-empty after the privatization
of the state-owned Yacimientos PetrolÌferos Fiscales (YPF) oil company.
The presence of the object--visible to the unaided eye over the forested
tropical hills of the San Antonio Range, which acts as the regions natural
border, was of the size and shape of a rugby ball.
- Residents of Vespucio took to the streets to look at
the object, which remained motionless for 40 minutes before vanishing suddenly
toward the west at "prodigious" speed, according to witnesses.
A housewife who chose to remain anonymous said "it was oddly beautiful.
The intensity of the light was enormous although it produced no fear whatsoever."
The same woman added that "we were all marvelled at first but got
nervous when we realized that along with the phenomenon, the phones stopped
working and the electrical systems of several cars were left for dead,
making it impossible to start them or turn on their lights."
- Residents of the Tablillas area, some 3 km inside the
canyon where Campamento Vespucio is located and consequently closer to
the UFO, were not surprised by the event, since they said "we are
used to seeing this singular luminous events since 1999, and the fact remains
that whenever they appear, they cause failures in motor and electrical
systems." Only a few families live in this place, all of them former
workers and employees of YPF who chose to remain in the area after privatization,
which can be reached along a tortuous dirt road leading to the Pan American
oil company operations. The road also leads to onther gas and oil wells
which currently register no services whatsoever.
- The Olima family is among the ones dwelling at Tabillas.
Made up by the couple and 13 children--eight of which live in their parents'
house and whose ages range between 10 and 24--were privileged witnesses
to the event. Gabriel Olima, 22, a former engineering student who was unable
to continue his studies due to economic hardship and who now works alongside
his father in a workshop set up inside the house and is also a beekeper,
said "we've seen these UFOs many times since 1999. People didn't believe
us for fear or out of skepticism, but the apparitions are so customary
that we've been able to determine that they're visible between July and
August. Not before, not after." "On one occasion, two persons
from a Buenos Aires TV Channel came and we brought them over to film [the
phenomenon]. They did the work but for some reason never exhibited it publicly.
While filming, they seemed frightened and one of them told me that the
shining "thing" was nothing known, that it was "very strange".
They never came back."
- On the other hand, Fabian Olima, 24, said that "this
or these objects seem to have a timetable, because they always become visible
between 20 and 21:00 hours. They're there, they stay for 40 minutes and
then vanish at high speed." Gabriel said that on one occasion, when
"the thing" appeared behind a distant hill no more than 4 km
from his house, he decided to have a closer look. "We wanted to see
what it was, what it was all about. We went out with my dad to reach the
other hill, running along some trails, but it suddenly built up speed and
vanished like a bullet."
- "What's changed," Fabian stressed, "is
the distance involved. Before we would see it far away, but on Monday night
it was closer than ever." "Maybe they're becoming less shy and
will come closer a little each day," joked other members of the Olima
- Translation (C) 2002. Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic
Ufology. Special thanks to Gloria Coluchi.