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UFOs in the daily Press:

Fireballs, jet, France, 1948:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper Le Provenšal, France, page 3, le 25 octobre 1949.



Were a jet plane and a celestial body seen on the same day?

Something has appeared in our Provencal sky these days, without agreement on its nature.

It was Thursday, and people in Avignon reported the passage of a meteor around 1:30 p.m., making reservations, however, not having been able to specify whether it was an aerolite, a flying saucer or a jet plane.

At the same time, one of our fellow citizens, Mr. J. de Castellar, observed the same phenomenon in the direction of Marseille-Veyre.

Since the publication of this event on Sunday, we have received several statements from readers, including one particularly accurate. Here is its main part:

"About last Thursday's fireball, I confirm the words of your occasional correspondent, Mr. Castellar.

"I was myself at sea in ideal weather, between the island of Riou and the mainland.

"At the indicated time, I was surprised to see white smoke rising with dizzying rapidity, almost vertically. It looked like a cane rocket from our fireworks.

"Because of my position at sea, this ascent occurred north of Saint-Michel-d'Eau-Douce (Goudes rocks), without being able to specify the starting point.

"I finally saw the plane, as big as a dragonfly.

"When it had reached, in my opinion, at least 2,000 meters of altitude, it headed towards me horizontally, passed over my head in a gigantic circle. I followed it. It passed over Cap Canaille, headed east, still in circles, and I lost sight of it behind the hills of Carpiagne.

"I claim to have seen the plane and to have heard the roar of the engine(s).

"I contemplated, quite at my ease and, by my position, better than anyone, this immense circle, for at least a good half hour."

But two other readers, MM. Laurent Bernard, living on Avenue Benjamin-Delewaert, and Lucien Durocher, living on Chemin du Roucas-Blanc, also observed the phenomenon. Only the first at 7:20 p.m.and the second at 7:45 p.m.

Mr. Bernard saw very clearly a body similar to a ball of fire, surrounded by a halo of light and leaving after it a trail equal to ten times its diameter. The step was horizontal, straight and silent.

This correspondent had seen, the same day, at 1:30 p.m., a whitish streak, while he was in Pologne Square, in the company of several people.

Mr. Durocher was near the stairs leading to Notre-Dame de la Garde and he suddenly saw appearing in the pure sky at first like a very luminous shooting star which, in its rapid course, left behind it a trail resembling a fireworks fire.

These testimonies seem to indicate that we are in the presence of two different events. The "bolide" seen on Avignon and then on Marseilles by Mr. De Castellar and another occasional correspondent, was, without doubt, a jet plane, whereas the observers of the evening found themselves in the presence of a meteor.

But this one came from the sea and was heading towards the northeast, that is to say towards the interior of the land. However, no fireball fall has been reported, which opens the field of hypotheses.

Perhaps other correspondents will bring new elements which will allow at least to fix the path of the fireball.


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