- SHANGHAI -- (Agence France Presse) The air force had a prolonged up-close
encounter with a UFO last month that one fighter pilot described as "just
like ones in foreign movies," a government-controlled newspaper reported
- A Hebei Daily report -- carried in the
news digest Baokan Wenzhai -- gave a detailed pilot's account of an aerial
cat-and-mouse game played between the object and a jet fighter ordered
to intercept it.
- At least 140 people on the ground also
saw the object, it said.
- An editor with the Hebei Daily said the
events took place on Oct. 19 and were still being investigated by local
- The newspaper's report and military sources
quoted show an openness that contrast sharply with Washington's notorious
secrecy on the topic of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
- It said the encounter began when four
different radar stations in northern Hebei province picked up an unknown
moving target in airspace directly above a military flight training base
near Changzhou city.
- To observers at the base, the UFO first
appeared like "a small star," and then grew larger and larger,
perhaps as it descended to a lower altitude, the report said.
- They described an object with a mushroom-shaped
dome on top and a flat bottom covered with bright, continually rotating
- A base commander surnamed Li reported
to his superiors, who ordered a Jianjiao-6 armed interceptor airborne to
pursue the object once checks showed no other civilian or military aircraft
in the area.
- The two pilots aboard said the object
closely resembled depictions they had seen in foreign science fiction films.
- When they got within 4,000 meters (13,200
feet) of the UFO over Qing county, it abruptly shot upward, easily evading
subsequent attempts to get closer.
- It appeared to be toying with the fighter
by repeatedly outdistancing it and then reappearing just above it, the
- The report said a request for permission
to fire on the UFO with an onboard cannon was denied by ground command
at one point.
- The interceptor was eventually forced
to return to base after it ran out of fuel at an altitude of 12,000 meters
(39,600 feet). The UFO then disappeared before two newer-model planes could
get airborne, the article said.
- While China's racy tabloids often run
stories of strange phenomena alongside celebrity-gossip and crime stories,
UFO reports are seldom carried by more official papers like the Hebei Daily.
(1998 Agence France Presse)
- Another version of the same AFP report
can be found in The Hong Kong Standard at http://www.hkstandard.com/online/news/001/china/news005.htm
- But this one from Inside China Today,
which is part of the European Internet Network, is the most comprehensive.