The April 18 1962 UFO Incident At Nellis Air Force Base, 10 Other States
Below is a summary of times, dates, locations and witnesses of the April 18 1962 UFO incident which began in Cuba, moved up the east coast to New York, culminating with an explosion near the Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, NV.
Date: April 18, 1962
Time: Between 8:15 and 8:19 PM Local Time, though the incident in its entirety lasted 32 minutes as the object, tracked by NORAD, crossed a total of ten states.
Location: The incident actually began on the east coast, first spotted in Oneida, New York, just outside of Syracuse. It crossed ten states, including Kansas, Colorado and Utah, before disappearing from Nellis Airforce Base radar at 10,000 Feet.
Response: The Air Defense Command was alerted after the object was tracked by NORAD. The object apparently landed at one point, confirmed by an Air Force Spokesman. During the 42 minutes it was on the ground, all power was lost from a nearby power station. Power was restored once it left, at which time it was pursued by jet interceptors summoned from Phoenix and Stead Field in Reno, NV.
Outcome: Jets pursued the object until it exploded over the Mesquite Range in Nevada “in a brilliant glare that was visible over five states.”
Witnesses: Having crossed from the east to west coast, the April 18 1962 UFO incident was seen by literally thousands of people.
Eye Witness Accounts
The April 18 1962 UFO incident has been described as a red or blue fireball; a red-flaming sword across the sky; an object resembling a tadpole; a very bright, white light was a smoke trail behind it with twenty-to-thirty explosions.
Witnesses in Utah claimed the April 18 1962 UFO incident involved an object that was no more than 500 feet above their truck, causing it to nearly stall at the time.
According to Captain Herman Gordon Shields, who was interrogated at Hill Air Force Base by Douglas M. Crouch, the chief of the criminal investigation sections:
“It had a long slender appearance comparable to a cigarette in size, that is, the diameter with respect to the length of the object. The fore part, or the lower part of the object was very bright, intense white such as a magnesium fire. The second half, the aft section, was a clearly distinguishable yellowish color. I would say the object was just about divided in half, the fore part being intensely white, the aft section having a more yellow color to it.”
Air Force Intelligence Report – April 24, 1962: [1b]At 0319& on 19 April 1962 a brilliant mid-air Illumination appeared over Nephi, Utah, visible in Idaho, California, Arizona and Kansas. One violent explosion and 20-30 sharp explosions followed illumination.
AF pilot in area reported clearly defined white object falling toward ground after illumination.
Resident of Lynndyl, Utah, stated a bright white object passed over him traveling north-west at 3OO-5OO feet altitude, having bright white trail, turning to smoke trail after object passed.
Observers at Jericho, Utah, (39 ^5M, 112 11W) stated object passed east of Jericho in north-west direction.
Observer 3 miles south-west of Eureka, Utah reported object passed over in northwest direction, alternately emitting gasping sound, retarding forward movement, and surging ahead three or four times, before flame at tail of object turned from bright yellow to blue. Observer stated object arced over and estimated that object landed in vicinity of M6.
At 06202 on 19 April 1962 Captain Herman O. Shields, Troop Carrier Squadron, a reserve AF pilot and civilian Attorney at Law was interviewed at Bill AF3, with a tape recording being made of the interview. The following information and answers received to questions regarding the April 18 1962 UFO incident…
15a(l) Shape – A long cylinderical shape like a cigarette.
15a(2) Sisse – At the distance object appeared to be the size of a cigarette.
15a(3) Color – The forward or lower part of object was a bright intense white. the after half was a clearly distinguishable yellow color.
Conclusion of the April 18 1962 UFO Incident
Dr. Robert Kadesch, an associate professor of physics at the University of Utah, dismissed the April 18 1962 UFO incident as probably being a “Bolide,” an extremely bright meteor.
The radar sighting at Nellis Air Force Base initially reported the object as “unidentified,” but later changed it to “Insufficient Data For Scientific Analysis.”
Source: Project Blue Book Archive
One of the more reliable sources for UFO sighting is former Las Vegas news reporter George Knapp who had a segment air in 2015 on 8 News Now’s I-Team Investigations. In it, Knapp commented on the April 18 1962 UFO incident, amongst others–
The most spectacular case in the book is from April 1962.
“It’s a fantastic case involving, not only a few hundred witnesses, thousands of witnesses saw this thing as it traveled across the United States,” he said.
“A fireball came in over Cuba, traveled up the East Coast, and over New York, made a 45 degree turn to the left, zipped across the U.S. at differing speeds, landed in Utah where it knocked out electrical power, then took off again before exploding over Clark County.”
“The air force labeled it. First they called it a meteor, then they changed their story and called it a balloon.”
Below are copies of a request for information a few months after the April 18 1962 UFO incident. The initial inquiry, hand-written, is transcribed below which adds intrigue to the events–
This letter is in reference to the sighting if a brilliant object (UFO?) at or near the Nevada Testing Site on April 18, 1962.
Your spokesman, Lt. Col. Herbert Rolph, said that jets had been scrambled to intercept the object.
The official spokesman at Nellis AFB, in reply to the meteor explanation, said: “There’s only one thing wrong with that – a meteor cannot be tracked on radar and this thing was.”
I would like the official AF answer as to whether the object was a UFO. Furthermore, I would like a confirmation as to whether or not the object was destroyed with a nuclear weapon. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.