Did Giant Triangular UFO Shoot Down Attacking RAF Fighter?
From Tim Edwards
From Masinaigan
UFO ROUNDUP Volume 3, Number 16
Editor - Joseph Trainor
The March 24, 1997 UFO incident in the Peak District west of Sheffield is now the subject of an investigation by the newspaper Sheffield Star, the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA) and the Hon. Helen Jackson, Member of Parliament for Sheffield/Hillsborough.
In early April, the Sheffield Star revealed that the RAF had conducted a low-altitude training exercise that night and had participated in a massive air-and-ground search for a purported missing aircraft. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Jackson submitted a list of questions about the Sheffield case to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). On April 7, 1998, John Spellar, Under-Secretary of Defense sent Mrs. Jackson this response: "It is not possible 12 months after the date in question to state precisely where military activities were being carried out. Records kept show only that aircraft were tasked to carry out low flying over the Peak District between 2030 and 2107 (8:30 to 9:07 p.m.) local time on the evening of 24 March 1997. No low-level flying is permitted over the Sheffield urban area or any other major conurbation." The night of March 24, 1997, instruments at the University of Edinburgh recorded two mysterious sonic booms in the Sheffield area. Eyewitnesses on the ground reported seeing a triangular UFO and up to six RAF Tornado fighters flying overhead. According to the May/June 1997 issue of UFO Magazine (page 9), the witnesses described the object as "a huge triangular-shaped UFO (that) passed directly overhead at 300 feet at 9:30 p.m. The craft had pinkish-colored lights around its curved edges and a blinking blue light on its underside and 'lit up the street as bright as day.'"
Since March 24, 1997, rumors of a UFO air battle and a Tornado crash have circulated in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. According to the story, the triangular UFO appeared over Dronfield, Derbyshire. Six RAF Tornado interceptors engaged in an air attack on the craft. The UFO supposedly shot down a Tornado, which crashed in a reservoir near the Howden Moors in Derbyshire. The UFO then fled into space. Following the exchange of letters between Under-Secretary Spellar and Mrs. Jackson, BUFORA press officer Dave Clarke inteviewed Alan Pattison of MoD's "UFO desk" and his deputy, Squadron Leader Tom Manning of the RAF. According to Clarke, the men "confirmed the planes involved in the incident were two Tornado GR1 Strike aircraft which were operating from the base at RAF Marham on a pre-booked and pre-planned low-level training exercise over the Peak District. These Tornados were the type used on bombing missions in the (Persian) Gulf War and are not fighters that would be scrambled for an intercept." "They also admitted that other Tornados and indeed Jaguar fighters from other NATO bases took part in the night-time sortie, which included night-time flying at a minimum 250 feet altitude over the mountains west of Sheffield."
UFO researcher Max Burns has claimed that the triangular mystery object was tracked on radar at 9:55 p.m. that night by the Royal Signals unit at the RAF Linton-upon-Ouse base, near the city of York. Clarke stated, "The MoD/RAF current position is that the two sonic booms recorded at 2132 and 2206 (9:32 and 10:06 p.m. by Edinburgh) that night remain 'unexplained.' They claim the low-flying exercise was over fifty minutes before these sonic events were recorded and say that they have no record of them at the time of the exercise."
Pattison and Manning stated, "We did not chase a UFO, and there has been no cover-up. We responded to a request by the police to help to search for a crashed aircraft and sent a helicopter from RAF Leconfield. We don't know what caused the sonic events, and the whole thing is a mystery to us, too."
Clarke revealed that the air-and-ground search involved 200 police, fire and military reserve personnel, who covered an area of 40 square miles around Bolsterstone, South Yorkshire. The helicopter from RAF Leconfield was a Westland Sea King HAS Mk 6, which assisted the West Yorkshire police helicopter in the search. (See the Sheffield Star for April 4, 1998. Also UFO Roundup, volume 2, number 12 for March 30, 1997. Many thanks to Dave Clarke of BUFORA and John Hayes for this story.)

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