Jul 06, 2022 I Brent Swancer

A Strange UFO Mid-Air Collision and Crash in Mexico

Within UFO lore there are many cases that have managed to stand out, whether because of the witnesses, the circumstances, or simply the bizarreness of it all. The field is peppered with cases that have managed to stick out as particularly odd and even become legendary. Among these, some of the most conspicuous are those cases that involve alleged alien spacecraft crashing to earth, and one very strange case of this apparently happened over the skies of Mexico and Texas in 1974. 

On the evening of August 26, 1974, US Air Defense radar picked up an unidentified object over the Gulf of Mexico. The unknown object was at an approximate altitude of 75,000 feet and travelling at around 2,200 knots (2,530 mph) on a flight path taking it towards U.S. airspace about forty miles southwest of Corpus Christi, Texas. At first it was thought to be a meteor, but as the baffled radar operators looked on, the object suddenly decelerated to 1700 knots (1,955 mph), and began a slow, controlled descent as it turned to a heading of 290 degrees. The descent was notable for how it occurred in a series of neat, controlled steps, with each new altitude maintained for 5 minutes before going lower again, meaning that it was no meteor. Whatever it was leveled off at 20,000 feet, then passed over Texas and continued for 500 miles before disappearing at a remote and inhospitable desert area near the town of Coyame, Chihuahua, Mexico, close to the U.S.- Mexico border. It was all very strange, but it was about to get even stranger still.

It would turn out that as all of this had been happening, a small plane had taken off from El Paso, Texas, and headed for Mexico City, which was also picked up by radar, and which also disappeared at around the same location as the unidentified object. At first it was thought that they had both just gone below the radar and that they would appear again, but they never did, and officials began to worry that there may have been an actual collision between the two. This was only further exacerbated when civilian radio traffic indicated that a civilian aircraft had indeed gone down in that area for reasons that were not specified. The plane was found to have been originally from Mexico, putting it out of U.S. jurisdiction, and when U.S. officials offered assistance they were declined by a Mexican military that seemed to be very eager to sort of forget about the whole incident. In the meantime, the case would get allegedly even more bizarre still.

It would turn out that the Mexican authorities had almost immediately launched a complete search of the area where the plane and unknown object had gone down, and they soon found the wreckage of the civilian aircraft from the air, but they also found something else. Allegedly, in addition to the plane, Mexican authorities also found the wreckage of a “second aircraft” that was apparently a disk-shaped circular object unlike any aircraft they had ever seen, damaged but supposedly more or less in one piece. The U.S., who had been eavesdropping on the whole thing, offered to help in the rescue operation, but they were again declined and this was followed by complete radio silence from Mexican authorities. After this, satellite and spy plane reconnaissance showed that the Mexican military had sent a convoy of vehicles to the site and had loaded the disk-shaped object onto a flatbed truck, but then air surveillance showed that the Mexican convoy had suddenly and inexplicably stopped moving. 

Unwilling to take no for an answer and convinced that something far stranger than just two crashed planes was going on, the U.S. government put together a covert recovery team at Fort Bliss that planned to sneak into Mexico and see what was going on. The 15-man team then allegedly secretly entered Mexican airspace aboard four unmarked helicopters. When the team arrived at the crash location, they were able to find the wreckage of the small civilian plane, a Cessna 180, as well as the eerie sight of a Mexican military jeep with four dead Mexican soldiers in it. Thinking this was a bit ominous, the team continued on to the stalled convoy, where things would take a turn for the sinister.

When the team arrived, they purportedly did so to find that all of the members of the Mexican recovery team were dead from unknown causes, and that the large, disk-shaped object was still sitting there on the flatbed truck, described as being sixteen feet in diameter and with no visible doors or windows and no discernible propulsion system. Fearing that there might be some contaminant or radiation involved that had killed all of the men, more personnel equipped with protective suits were brought in, as well as more helicopters, and efforts began to have the strange object moved somewhere else. According to witnesses, sand-colored unmarked helicopters descended on the site and whisked the mysterious object away to an unknown location, and some versions of the story even say that the U.S. military made sure to destroy the crash site, the wreckage, the convoy, and any evidence at all that anything had happened there. That is pretty much where the story of what has come to be known as the “Coyame UFO Incident” ends, and it has stirred debate within the UFO community about its veracity and whether it happened or not ever since.

It seems that the story of the incident first came to the attention of ufologists in 1992, when a mysterious anonymous document titled "Research Findings on the Chihuahua Disk Crash" was anonymously sent to a number of UFO researchers in the United States and Europe and addressed "To All Deneb Team Members, From JS." Probably the most famous UFO researcher to mention the incident is Leonard Stringfield, who mentioned it in his 1994 publication, UFO Crash Retrievals: Search for Proof in a Hall of Mirrors (Status Report VII), and was very impressed by the document and convinced that it was authentic, once saying it was “authoritatively written, using correct military terminology and, of note and unlike a hoax, draws a line between so-called hard evidence and that which is speculative.” It is unknown where the document originated from or who wrote it, making it impossible to verify as real or a hoax. 

Efforts were made to track down more information on the incident, and it seems that some elderly eyewitnesses in the Coyame area remembered seeing the helicopters or even seeing the actual collision itself, but there is no physical evidence remaining. The only corroborating evidence at all is that researchers have managed to track down elderly locals of the area who remember seeing the military activity or even the actual collision, but this is far from proof of a downed alien spacecraft and only serves to make it all more enigmatic. The case was further propelled into the public consciousness with the release of an episode of the cable television series UFO Files, which did a segment on it called "Mexico's Roswell." What happened out over that desolate desert wasteland oin that fateful day? Is this a real case of a UFO and aircraft coillision or is it just another spooky story? It does not seem as though we will know any time soon. 

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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