Case Histories : Howden Moor Incident> [prev ¦ 1 ¦ 2 ¦ 3 ¦ 4 ¦ 5 ¦ 6 ¦ 7 ¦ 8 ¦ 9 ¦ 10 ¦ 11 ¦ 12 ¦ 13 ¦ 14 ¦ 15 ¦ 16 ¦ next]


Det Insp Christine Wallace, who collated more than 40 reports for the South Yorkshire force, told us later how these described mainly low-flying aircraft but also UFO type craft, the observations spanning several hours and originating from areas outside the zone of the search and rescue operation. A summary of these reports can be found in the Police Log, but only the most significant are discussed in this gazetteer.

[dusk] Derwent Valley, Derbyshire. Park Ranger Brian Jones hears “an horrendous noise” in the sky and sees a low-flying helicopter flying across the valley towards Glossop. It carries a red and a white light. The same helicopter was seen and heard by several other residents in the Ladybower/Bamford area but has not been identified.

7.40pm. Sighting in police log from a Bryan Haslam of Keighley, West Yorkshire, who had seen an object in the sky while travelling from Sheffield station. He was in the Barnsley area when he saw “a triangle shaped object with lights all around it hovering...” The police log of the incident reads: “...[caller] does not think it was a plane. Thinks we are wasting our time.”

8.30pm Gavin Stewart, driving on the M62 in West Yorks sees “an aircraft with its lights on travelling at 1500 feet nose down at a rate of knots. The aeroplane disappeared over a ridge and he expected to see flames but saw nothing more.” He reported the sighting to South Yorkshire Police afterhearing about the search for the crashed plane on the radio.

8.30pm Paul Bradley was outside the Little Chef restaurant on the A61 Chesterfield by-pass in Derbyshire when he saw a formation of threemilitary jets on the horizon. He said the formation were flying northwesttowards the Derbyshire moors. Later the same night, around 10.15pm, hesaid he saw more military jet activity while in the Shiregreen area of Sheffield.

9.25pm Mr Rhodes of Ridgeway, near Mosborough, Sheffield: “On the night of the incident I was watching the sky for the comet. At 9.25 I saw a bright light travel from my right (Dronfield) to my left (Ridgeway). I know this
was the time because every night I always stand outside at this time. I sawthe light dip, then I heard what I thought was a bang. I thought nothing ofit until I heard the news about the crashed plane. I don’t think my sighting had anything to do with the aeroplane as it was nowhere near Bolsterstone.
It was mysterious but I think it can be explained as a meteorite. Sincethe time I reported it to the police I’ve been contacted by the BBC, alien magazines, UFO investigators and other assorted nutcases. The piece[by Max Burns] struck me as one of the usual ‘made-up stories’ about this case.”

9.30pm Tony Moore and Paul Byson, watching the comet from the Shiregreen area of Sheffield, saw what they described as a formation of fighter jets flying directly above them in the direction of Derbyshire. A number of other witnesses in Sheffield and northeast Derbyshire reported similar sightings, including an entire football team in Dronfield. Ataround the
same time, a radio journalist from Hallam FM reported hearing “a loud humming noise” from above his car while comet-watching on the Peak District moors. This lasted 2-3 seconds, faded away and then returned, at one point “resembling a bird flapping its wings.” Despite pointing a torch skywards he was unable to see anything above him. It was only after hearing of the search the following morning that he connected the two events.

9.55pm Series of sightings in the Dronfield/Chesterfield area of Derbyshire, of aircraft travelling in a north/northwest direction towards the Peak District including jet aircraft and at least one light aircraft.

Emma Maidenhead [pseudonym] at Dronfield heard two jet aircraft pass over her home just before 10pm, and went upstairs to the bedroom where she heard “a low humming noise.” Then she saw what she described as a triangle fly across the street. She told investigator Martin Jeffrey: “I saw a triangle with the corners cut off. There were two
pink lights on the front and I saw blue lights all around it. The triangle was a wide as the street, it was really bright and just above the rooftops. It flew pretty slow heading for the moors.” Max Burns describes the object Emma saw as a “huge triangular object, 2-300ft across” and said it passed over her house at a height of 200ft. He said it had pink/cerise lights around the front and “an almost blinding electric blue light underneath.” TheUFO made a humming noise like an “like wet powerlines/electrical substation.” She claimed the UFO lit up the whole street as bright as day. Less than a minute before this object disappeared towards the moors two more jet aircraft screamed overhead. Emma also claimed to have seen helicoptersin the sky and said: “It was like an air show..I have never seen as much air traffic in the sky at the same time.” Emma then rang UFOlogist Max Burns and the pair travelled in Emma’s car into Derbyshire, where they were stopped at the Ladybower Dam by a police patrol and saw helicopters searching the moors to the north.

Shortly before Emma’s sighting a retired RAF officer, John
Brassington, heard two very low level fighter jets scream over his house in Dronfield, so low they shook the foundations. He was certain they were Tornado fighter jets. These aircraft were heard minutes after he had distinctly heard a single-engined light aircraft flying low and circling above the area. He was convinced the light aircraft was flying illegally as it was so unusual to hear one at that time of the night over a built up area. He said: “I think the RAF had the right to be in this area flying at night, but I think the light aircraft was on an illegal flight, that was why I phoned the police the following day when I heard about the search for the crashed plane. I can assure you that if the RAF say nothing was going on that night they are talking a load of rubbish. Those jets were so low they shook the foundations of my house.”

Shortly before 10pm an off-duty police sergeant at Edale in the Peak District saw a formation of fighter jets pass overhead. He said it appeared one low-level jet was being pursued by a formation of Tornadoes flying in a V-formation behind it. The formation of jets was flying at low-level and appeared to the eye as a large triangular object in the sky.

10pm? An 81-year-old woman pensioner at Woodlands View, Stannington, on the outskirts of Sheffield, watching the comet from her bedroom window saw a long dark cigar shaped object flying in a westerly direction across
the moors from Bradfield towards Strines and the Peak District. She said it was surrounded by an eerie “glow” as if it was on fire, and was “very low” in the sky, almost at rooftop level. Speaking afterwards, she said: “I was watching for the comet from my window which has a panoramic view over the moors when I saw what I first thought was a plane come over
the top of the hills beyond High Bradfield. It went towards Strines in the west and was shaped liked a long cigar which looked as if it was on fire because it glowed. I couldn’t make out any wings and it made no noise at all. The light just glowed, it didn’t flash, and it was very queer looking.”
The pensioner reported the sighting to Hammerton Road police after hearing about the search. Police there said she was a clear-headed, reliable witness who was familiar with the night sky.

10-10.05pm Police special constable Marie-France Tattersfield was driving a car with her husband Steve, a light aircraft pilot. They were heading alongBrightholmlee Lane near the hill village of Bolsterstone looking for a good viewpoint for comet Hale-Bopp.

Suddenly what looked like a large four-seater aircraft flew directly across their path, coming from the direction of Grenoside across the Morehall reservoir, heading west towards Broomhead Moor. They clearly saw lights on the wings, but could not identify what kind of plane it was -
whether prop-driven or a jet. There were four to six windows
on the side of the plane, all brightly lit. She said:

“It was a very clear night so we decided to go and have a look at the comet We left the house about 9.20 and decided to go towards Bolsterstone. It was then that we saw a light aircraft which was on my right. It was very unusual because all of its lights were on and it was very bright. We watched it for a while. It was very low and all the time it looked as if it
was coming down.

“It was the weirdest thing I have ever seen. It was a big aeroplane and was well below the legal altitude for night flying, it must have been no higher than 500 feet.. All its windows were lit up which made it look even more odd as no light aircraft would fly blind at that time of night over these hills.”
The couple carried on driving until they reached the top of the moors...”it was in front of us all the time with the lights still on and then it disappeared behind some tall confiers.” During this period Marie-France heard what she thought was a boom or bang in the area. The couple reported their sighting to Ecclesfield Police Station at 1 am the next morning, after they saw the lights of helicopters searching the moors near their home. »

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