In late 1978, Australian pilot Frederick Valentich, took off from Moorabbin Airport in Victoria on a solo flight in a Cessna 182. His course would take him across Bass Strait to King Island. However, 50 minutes into his flight, Valentich spotted a large craft with four bright lights in his immediate vicinity. He then radioed the following message to Melbourne air flight service controller, Steve Robey:
"It seems to be playing some sort of game. Flying at speed I cannot estimate.... It is flying past. It has a long shape...coming for me right now.... It has a green light and sort of metallic light on the outside. The thing is orbiting on top of me. [at this point, the Cessna begins a rough idle, and the engine coughs] Proceeding Kind Island. Unknown aircraft now hovering on top of me."
As Valentich signed off, a loud metallic groan was heard for 17 seconds by those on the ground listening in. Then the signal went dead. That was the last anyone heard from the young pilot. Neither the Cessna nor his body were ever located.
To better understand the mystery, the unusual metallic sound, which wasn't made immediately public in the wake of the tragedy, was analyzed by several experts, including Dr. Richard F. Haines, a one-time researcher with NASA. Haines reported that the sound was "thirty-six separate bursts with fairly constant start and stop pulses bounding each one....no discernible patterns in time or frequency."
Following the incident, several witnesses came forward to claim that green lights had been seen in the sky. One said he spotted a green light trailing the very plane that went missing.
Others posited more mundane explanations,including the typical pilot disorientation, strong winds off the strait pushing the plane far out to sea, and that Valentich was involved in drug smuggling and shot down by another plane. In absence of any proof, all three of these scenarios are no less ridiculous than abduction by a UFO.