The Weird History of Unidentified Submerged Objects
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Article by Kyle Mizokami October 9, 2019 (popularmechanics.com)
• Recent public appearances by former U.S. Navy Commander David Fravor, the pilot who first encountered the “Tic Tac” UFO off of the coast of San Diego in November 2004, has brought up the subject of ‘Unidentified Submerged Objects’ or ‘USOs’. Whether optical illusions, mechanical malfunctions, secret government craft, or extraterrestrials – there’s a long history of USO sightings.
• In a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Fravor related a story that a fellow retired Navy helicopter pilot told him. This fellow was based at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. While recovering spent practice munitions from the water, the helicopter pilot twice spotted USOs. In the first incident, the pilot saw a “dark mass” underwater, described as big and “kinda circular”. He was certain it wasn’t a submarine. In the Navy helicopter pilot’s second incident, a practice torpedo that the pilot was sent to recover was “sucked down” into the depths of the ocean in the presence of a similar underwater object, never to be seen again.
• Fravor also says that a 79-year-old woman contacted him and told him that her father was a naval officer based at the naval station in San Francisco in the 1950s. When she was a child, her father showed her a telegram that stated unidentified objects had been seen going in and out of the water at a certain location. Her father told her, “We get these all the time, and it’s always in the same area.”
• This topic came up in the conversation because Fravor himself witnessed a USO on the day he was chasing the Tic Tac UFO off of San Diego. In fact, the only reason he noticed the Tic Tac UFO was because it was hovering over a large mysterious object sighted underwater. Fravor described the object as cross shaped and approximately the size of a Boeing 737 jetliner. He described the water above it as though it were “boiling” or “frothing,” and said the USO disappeared after it caught his attention.
• As covered in Ivan Sanderson’s 1970 book: Invisible Residents, devoted to USO sightings, on April 19, 1957, crew members aboard the Japanese fishing boat Kitsukawa Maru spotted two metallic silvery objects descending from the sky into the sea. The objects were estimated to be ten meters long, without wings of any kind, and violently hit the water.
• In 1963, during an anti-submarine warfare exercise off of Puerto Rico with the USS Wasp carrier group, a submarine broke off from the formation to pursue a USO. Sonar operators on one of the smaller vessels followed the chase. The operators wondered whether the USO may have been planted there by the Navy as part of the exercise, except that the object was traveling at over 150 knots (e.g.: about 175 miles per hour; modern Naval submarines can travel at 40 knots maximum) “[N]o less than [thirteen] craft,” including anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft, tracked the high-speed [USO]” to depths of 27,000 feet. Technicians kept track of this object for four days.
• In 2007, a guest on a cruise ship off of California reported to the National UFO Reporting Center seeing three “nearly spherical objects” “evenly spaced” and “softly glowing” hovering just above the ocean surface as the ship passed by them. As she watched the objects, one of them “splashed down into the water and disappeared.”
• Another NUFORC report from April 2019 stated that an object resembling a “small white boat” flew up out of the ocean near Imperial Beach, California, and promptly “flew south at a very high rate of speed.”
This past weekend, former U.S. Navy Commander David Fravor was a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Fravor, who was the subject of a New York Times article about his 2004 UFO sighting, discussed a spooky new sighting a fellow pilot revealed to him after they were both out of the Navy.
According to Fravor, the eyewitness was a former pilot of the MH-53E Sea Dragon, the Navy version of the Marine Corps’ CH-53E Sea Stallion, based at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, on the island of Puerto Rico. Twice while recovering spent practice munitions out of the water, the pilot spotted a weird underwater object.
In the first incident, the pilot saw a “dark mass” underwater as he and his team retrieved a flying practice drone. The pilot described the object as a “big” mass, “kinda circular,” and he was certain it wasn’t a submarine. In the pilot’s second sighting, a practice torpedo that the pilot was sent to recover was “sucked down” into the depths of the ocean in the presence of a similar underwater object. The torpedo was never seen again.
Elsewhere in the interview, Fravor reveals that a 79-year-old woman contacted him after his sighting went public. The woman explained that her father, a naval officer, was at one time based at the naval station in San Francisco in the 1950s. When she was a child, her father showed her a telegram that stated unidentified objects had been sighted going in and out of the water at a now forgotten set of latitude and longitude coordinates. The woman’s father told her, “We get these all the time, and it’s always in the same area.”
These sightings are similar to Fravor’s own sighting. According to the retired Navy pilot, the only reason he had seen the now-infamous “Tic Tac” UFO was because it was hovering above a mysterious larger object that was sighted underwater. Fravor describes the object as cross shaped and approximately the size of a Boeing 737 jetliner. He has further described the water above it as though it were “boiling” or “frothing,” and said the object disappeared after it caught his attention.
In 1970, biologist Ivan Sanderson published the book Invisible Residents. Sanderson, a noted student of unusual phenomena, devoted the book to sightings of what were later called Unidentified Submerged Objects, or USOs. USOs are defined as unknown craft that are sighted in the water, sighted rising up out of the water, or diving into the water. Sanderson catalogued scores of reports of USOs:
On the 19th of April, 1957, crew members aboard the Kitsukawa Maru, a Japanese fishing boat, spotted two metallic silvery objects descending from the sky into the sea (original emphasis). The objects, estimated to be ten meters long, were without wings of any kind. As the hit the water, they created a violent turbulence. The exact location was reported as 31° 15’ N and 143° 30’ E.
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