Fighter Killed in Futile Chase of 'Flying Saucer'

ISGP section: UFO press reports index

Two Other Pilots Pursue Mysterious Object in Skies Near Ft. Knox Without Success

Los Angeles Times
January 9, 1948

LOUISVILLE, Jan. 8. (AP)--Several areas of Kentucky and adjoining States were excited today over reports of "flying saucers" which led to the death of one National Guard flyer and fruitless chases by several other pilots.

The National Guard headquarters at Louisville said Capt. Thomas F. Mantell Jr., 25, was killed late Wednesday while chasing what was reported as a "flying saucer" near Franklin, Ky...

In Southern Ohio, meanwhile, observers reported seeing a flaming red cone near the Army air base at Wilmington. The Army air base near Wilmington, O., late today issued a formal statement on the matter, but, a spokesperson said, officials there still have no idea what it was or what it might mean.

"The sky phenomenon, described by observers at the Clinton County Air Base as having the appearance of a flaming red cone trailing a gaseous green mist, appeared in the southwest skies of Wilmington Wednesday night between 7:20 and 7:55 p.m.,"the Army statement said.

Col. Guy F. Hix, commanding officer at Godman Field, adjoining Ft. Knox, said he observed the "flying saucer" for some time. He said three National Guard planes were contacted by radio and instructed to investigate.

"We lost contact in about 20 minutes," Col. Hix said. "Two of the planes later called back and reported no success."

Capt. Mantell, an air hero during the Allied invasion of Normandy, was the third pilot. His mother, Mrs. Thomas F. Mantell Sr., said at Louisville she was informed her son flew too high in his pursuit of the object and lost consciousness.