Jan 25, 2023 I Nick Redfern

Bolivia's Roswell: A Crash, a Cover-Up and Many Questions That Are Still Being Asked

When it comes to the issue of what really happened on what was once known as the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in early July 1947, there are things we know, things we suspect, and things we will probably never know. But, that something happened – something which caused the U.S. Air Force to offer multiple explanations for the event – is not a matter of any doubt at all. It was an incident that clearly concerned elements of not just the military, but the government, too, and to a highly significant degree. Eye-witnesses – both military and civilian – were warned not to talk about what they had seen and / or heard. More than a few of those warnings crossed the line and can only accurately be described as death threats. People were plunged into states of fear. Lives were changed forever; even scarred. Some lives may have ended; as in terminated.  It was on July 8, 1947 that the strange event surfaced publicly. Associated Press (among many other news outlets) reported on the startling, then-breaking news:

“The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chavez County. The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff’s office, who in turn notified Major Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office. Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher’s home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters." The fact is, though, that we're still wondering about Roswell: An alien spacecraft? A time-travel machine? A secret experiment of the military at the time? A Ryussian vehicle? A then new type balloon of the Japanese? Why do I ask all of these questions? I'll tell you why: Because, back in 1978, an event eerily to Roswell occurred, but in Bolivia. Take a look and you will see how the two incidents mirror each other. The only difference is that the Bolivia affair hasn't achieved the same amount of coverage that Roswell has. The Bolivia event, however, is jst a good. So, with that said, I'll lefave the rest of you to read of Bolivia's Roswell. It's a genuine, amazing mystery waiting to be solved.

(Nick Redfern) Dead aliens in Bolivia? A wrecked craft, too?

Although the Pentagon, the CIA and the U.S. Air Force have been at the forefront of highly-classified UFO secrets for many years, it’s a little-known fact that NASA – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – has taken a deep interest in not just UFOs, but incidents involving crashed UFOs. In other words, it’s the extraterrestrial hardware and technology that NASA is particularly fascinated with. As NASA note: “Since its inception in 1958, NASA has accomplished many great scientific and technological feats in air and space. NASA technology also has been adapted for many nonaerospace uses by the private sector. NASA remains a leading force in scientific research and in stimulating public interest in aerospace exploration, as well as science and technology in general. Perhaps more importantly, our exploration of space has taught us to view Earth, ourselves, and the universe in a new way. While the tremendous technical and scientific accomplishments of NASA demonstrate vividly that humans can achieve previously inconceivable feats, we also are humbled by the realization that Earth is just a tiny ‘blue marble’ in the cosmos.” All of which brings us to one of the most amazing UFO cases of all.

The genesis of this case can be traced to a United States Department of State telegram transmitted from the American Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, to the U.S. Secretary of State, Washington, D.C. on 15 May 1978, and shared with NASA. Captioned Report of Fallen Space Object, it stated: "The Bolivian newspapers carried this morning an article concerning an unidentified object that apparently recently fell from the sky. The paper quotes a 'Latin' correspondent’s story from the Argentine city of Salta. The object was discovered near the Bolivian city of Bermejo and was described as egg-shaped, metal and about four meters in diameter. The Bolivian Air Force plans to investigate to determine what the object might be and from where it came. I have expressed our interest and willingness to help. They will advise. Request the department check with appropriate agencies to see if they can shed some light on what this object might be. The general region has had more than its share of reports of UFOs this past week. Requests a reply ASAP."

NASA and The Department of State was not the only branch of government that took an interest in the case, as a CIA report - also of 15 May 1978 - makes clear: “Many people in this part of the country claim they saw an object which resembled a soccer ball falling behind the mountains on the Argentine-Bolivian border, causing an explosion that shook the earth. This took place on May 6. Around that time some people in San Luis and Mendoza provinces reported seeing a flying saucer squadron flying in formation. The news from Salta confirms that the artificial satellite fell on Taire Mountain in Bolivia, where it has already been located by authorities. The same sources said that the area where the artificial satellite fell has been declared an emergency zone by the Bolivian Government.” An examination of declassified UFO files found in the NASA archives reveals a second report that references the crash and adds further data. Dated 16 May 1978 and titled Reports Conflict on Details of Fallen Object, the document reads:

"We have received another phone call from our audience requesting confirmation of reports that an unidentified object fell on Bolivian territory near the Argentine border. We can only say that the Argentine and Uruguayan radio stations are reporting on this even more frequently, saying that Bolivian authorities have urgently requested assistance from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration in order to determine the nature of that which crashed on a hill in Bolivian territory. Just a few minutes ago Radio El Espectador of Montevideo announced that there was uncertainty as to the truth of these reports. Argentine sources indicated that the border with Bolivia had been closed but that it might seen be reopened. They also reported that an unidentified object had fallen on Bolivian soil near the Argentine border and that local Bolivian authorities had requested aid from the central government, which, in turn, had sought assistance from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration to investigate the case."

(Nick Redfern) The secret of the Bolivia event is still not solved. Or, maybe, it's hidden away.

A La Paz newspaper said today that there is great interest in learning about the nature of the fallen object, adding that local authorities for security reasons had cordoned off 200 km around the spot where the object fell. The object is said to be a mechanical device with a diameter of almost 4 meters which has already been brought to Tarija. There is interest in determining the accuracy of these reports which have spread quickly throughout the continent, particularly in Bolivia and its neighboring countries. Is it a satellite, a meteorite, or a false alarm? On May 18, 1978, the U.S. Embassy in La Paz again forwarded a telegram to both NASA and the Secretary of State, Washington DC. Classified Secret, the telegram disclosed the following: "Preliminary information provided has been checked with appropriate government agencies. No direct correlation with known space objects that may have re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere near May 6 can be made; however, we continue to examine any possibilities. Your attention is invited to State Airgram A-6343, July 26, 1973, which provided background information and guidance for dealing with space objects that have been found. In particular any information pertaining to the pre-impact observations, direction of trajectory, number of objects observed, time of impact and a detailed description including any markings would be useful."

Six days later, a communication was transmitted from the U.S. Defense Attaché Office in La Paz to a variety of U.S. military and government agencies and departments, including NORAD, the Air Force and the Department of State: "This office has tried to verify the stories put forth in the local press. The Chief of Staff of the Bolivian Air Force told DATT/AIRA this date that planes from the BAF have flown over the area where the object was supposed to have landed and in their search they drew a blank. Additionally, DATT/AIRA talked this date with the Commander of the Bolivian Army and informed DATT that the Army’s search party directed to go into the area to find the object had found nothing. The Army has concluded that there may or [may] not be an object, but to date nothing has been found. The CIA’s report of 15 May 1978 clearly stated that the object had fallen to earth on Taire Mountain, Bolivia, and had 'already been located by authorities.'” Furthermore, on the following day, the CIA learned that the object had “been brought to Tarija.” In contrast, the Bolivian Army and Air Force advised the U.S. Defense Attaché Office that their search for the mysterious object had drawn a blank and nothing was found. Was the CIA misinformed, or were the Bolivians keeping the Department of State in the dark? Regardless of the answers to those questions, the story does not end there.

(Nick Redfern) Did personnel from Area 51 get to the site first? That's what Dan Salter, a now dead member of the U.S. military, said.

Tantalizing information suggests that the object was indeed recovered by U.S. authorities (or at least with the assistance of U.S. authorities) and that both the CIA and NASA played key roles in the case. In June 1979, UFO researcher Leonard Stringfield was contacted by an Argentinean investigator, Nicholas Ojeda, who had interesting data to impart concerning the crash. According to Ojeda: “There is a report of a group of investigators who vanished mysteriously in the area. I really think something big happened in Salta. NASA investigated, but there was no news of it. I have to tell you that in La Paz, Bolivia, a huge Hercules C-130 carried ‘something’ from the area where the UFO crashed.” In addition, Stringfield’s research led to a disclosure that a CIA source known to the researcher Bob Barry confirmed that the C-130 flight took place and that he was aboard the aircraft. “No comment” was the reply that Barry received when the issue of the aircraft’s cargo was raised. The available evidence still did not answer the crucial question: what was it that crashed at Bermejo, Bolivia in May 1978? The possibility that the object was a meteorite almost certainly can be discounted, primarily because of the description given in the Department of State’s telegram of 15 May: “The object was…egg-shaped, metal and about four meters in diameter.”

What of the possibility that the object was a man-made satellite? That theory was thrown into doubt by the Department of State’s Secret telegram of 18 May, which was shared with NASA and that clearly stated: “No direct correlation with known space objects that may have entered the Earth’s atmosphere near May 6 can be made.” In this light, the CIA statement that “people in San Luis and Mendoza provinces reported seeing a flying saucer squadron flying in formation” and the revelations of the Department of State that “the general region has had more than its share of reports of UFOs in the past week” must be considered significant. There's no doubt that this particularly intriguing affair is a good, solid one, when it comes to the matter of sources, documents, words from government agencies and so on. Was it a genuine alien spacecraft? A secret satellite of Bolivia? Just like the Roswell event of 1947, we're still scratching our heads on this one. Anyone want to ressurect the incident? You might find something amazing...

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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