On November 23, 1953, an F-89C Scorpion jet was
scrambled from Kinross Field. The jet was searching
for an uncorrelated target picked up on radar by an
Air Defense Command Ground Intercept radar
controller at Truax AFB. The Scorpion was flown by
1st Lieutenant Felix Moncla, Jr., with 2nd Lieutenant
R. Wilson in the rear seat as radar operator.
The unknown object began to change course as the Scorpion began to close on it, at
speeds exceeding 500 mph. Wilson was having problems with tracking the unknown, so
ground control continued to direct Moncla to the UFO. Over half an hour later, Moncla
moved even closer to the object, which was now streaking over Lake Superior.
Finally the Scorpion jet closed the gap entirely. The blips on the radar screen merged
into one. Ground Control believed Moncla has flown over or under the object, and
expected the two blips to separate. This was not to be. The one blip was now gone; no
radar return at all could be seen. Ground Control attempted unsuccessfully to contact
the Scorpion by radio.
With the last radar return marked, Ground Control sent an emergency message to
Search and Rescue. The position marked was seventy miles off of Keweenaw Point in the
upper part of Michigan. The altitude was 8,000 feet, about 160 miles northwest of Soo
Locks. Search and Rescue made an all out, all night attempt to find the missing
Scorpion, to no avail.
An official statement would soon be issued from Norton Air Force Flying Safety Division.
They concluded that; "the pilot probably suffered from vertigo and crashed into the
lake." This statement was nothing more than a guess, and based on pure theory. There
were reports, albeit unsubstantiated, that Moncla suffered from vertigo. This question
was never resolved.
The Air Force made several attempts to explain away the UFO theory. First, they
claimed that the object was a Canadian DC-3. Secondly, they stated that the unknown
object was a RCAF jet. Canadian officials denied both of these claims. There was no
Canadian aircraft in the lake`s airspace at the time of the sighting of the UFO. In a last
ditch effort to explain away the UFO, the Air Force claimed that the Scorpion had
exploded at high altitude.
This claim also made no sense, because if the Scorpion had exploded there would have
been some of the plane`s debris found. Search teams had found no oil slick, metal
fragments, absolutely nothing to indicate a crash had occurred. The case was
investigated by NICAP, which found that official records had D E L E T Ed any mention of
Moncla`s chase. His plane was listed as being in a "accident."
Unofficially, radar operators and others present in the radar room believed that the loss
of the Scorpion, Moncla, and Wilson was directly related to the unknown object. The
identity of the UFO has never been disclosed officially to this day, and the loss of the
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