UFO sightings at CQ mine site baffle experts
MOBILE phone footage of UFO sightings at a Central Queensland mine site on consecutive mornings last month has captured the attention of experts.
Nine video clips and eye-witness accounts have been examined by three UFO researchers who, in a preliminary report, failed to identify what was in the sky over Middlemount on Sunday, July 28 and Monday, July 29.
The preliminary investigation report into the sightings was conducted by Keith Basterfield, Paul Dean and Brad Morris.
Mr Basterfield, of Adelaide, is a retired local government employee who has investigated hundreds of UFO sightings from all over Australia, and written books on them, and also publishes his research findings on an internet blog.
Mr Dean, who runs a small business and also has a UFO blog, is based in Melbourne where he obtains and studies formerly classified government and military records related to UFOs.
While Mr Morris, who also lives in Melbourne, specialises in video analysis and runs a Facebook page which looks at UFO-related footage.
The expert trio interviewed two eye-witnesses to the Middlemount events, including the man who shot the video footage on the second day with his mobile phone.
There was no video evidence taken on the first day.
While other witnesses, workers at the mine site, can be heard talking on the videos via UHF radio link, none of these people have been able to be interviewed.
The report states that Witness One was at work on July 28 when, about 8.30am, he was alerted to an airborne object by another employee on the work site (Witness Two).
In the north-eastern sky, Witness One watched an object - white/grey in colour - for several minutes before it departed to the north at great speed.
"The object was low to the visible horizon. There was no associated sound. It was lost to view over a mine mound," the report said of Witness One's account.
Witness Two, when interviewed, said that in the clear blue sky he had first noticed what he took to be a white "cloud" hovering above the ground.
"It seemed to be an estimated 500 metres up. It went north at speed," the report said of Witness Two's account.
Amazingly, the following day, at the same time, both men were again working at the Middlemount mine site when Witness One was again alerted to the presence of an object by Witness Two.
The report says that Witness One saw an object to the east/north-east, which according to video clip one, travelled slowly horizontally.
In video clip two, it is seen to descend to the horizon, and then below the horizon where it is lost to view, obscured by trees.
The report states Witness One did not see the object ascend from this position but then noticed what he thought was the same object to the north-north-east and then to the north-north-west.
At this time he took several video clips (3-7).
In these clips, the object appears almost stationary.
The report says that in the video, the object changes shape, from pyramid, to triangle, to disc flattening out and continuing to roll and change shape.
It says in clip eight, the sun is in the picture (sun roughly north-east) and then the camera pans to the left (ie to the west) where the object is seen with no zoom as a white dot in the sky, and then pans in to show a shape. By this time it was around 9-9.15am (EST).
The report says that all of the videos were shot from the inside of a front-end loader cabin, however videos six and seven were taken out an open window, so had no obstruction.
The remainder of the footage was shot through the glass windscreen and windows that were dirty, and at times obscure the video.
The preliminary investigation examined observations from the four nearest weather stations (Blackwater, Emerald, Moranbah and St Lawrence); astronomical data and satellite images of the mine site.
It analysed "all available data" and tried to eliminate potential mundane causes.
In the final part of the preliminary report (Appendix Four - What was the object?) Mr Basterfield noted that few details were available on the first day's sighting including no video evidence.
He said one could not discount an aircraft rising from the Middlemount airport, which was about 40km north-east of the mine site, however the Flightradar24 website did not have any information about flights into/out of the airport.
Mr Basterfield concluded that it was "not possible to state with any certainty what was seen" on the first day.
In relation to the evidence including the nine video clips taken on the second day, and subsequent investigations, Mr Basterfield ruled out aircraft, helicopters, drones, parachutes, weather balloons, hot-air balloons, and Google's Project Loon balloons.
"Project Loon is an effort to bring the internet to remote communities around the world.
"Both in 2014 and 2017, Loon balloons flew over Queensland."
In his conclusion about day two, Mr Basterfield wrote: "The object remains unidentified.
Quite a bit of the data suggests the possibility of large sized balloons, of the type used by tourist hot air balloon experience operators, with a lesser possibility of Loon balloons.
However, no evidence has been obtained to show that there were such balloons in the area at the time."