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America's Mysteries-Pilot Shot Down By UFO Over Ft Knox

Updated on March 31, 2012
P51 Chasing A UFO
P51 Chasing A UFO
Captain Thomas F. Mantell
Captain Thomas F. Mantell
Official Marker Of The  Mantell Incident
Official Marker Of The Mantell Incident

America's Mysteries - Pilot Shot Down By Pilot Over Ft Knox

No this is not a science fiction story. This story really happened in the air over Kentucky in January of 1949. And this time the U.S. Government wouldn't be able to claim it was a weather balloon like they had with the Roswell Incident back in 1947. Before the day was over a 25 year old Air Force pilot was dead. Killed while he was pursuing a UFO. A UFO that was seen that day by hundreds of people including military, police, and the Commander of An air Force Base. And now you can read the rest of the story.

Most likely you have never heard of this incident or Captain Thomas F. Mantell but it really happened. On the afternoon of January 5th 1948 he died in a plane crash chasing a UFO in the sky over Ft Knox Kentucky. Several local farmers in the area at that time told of seeing the UFO shoot the P51 Mustang Plane down with some type of beam weapon. They said the plane closed to with in a hundred yards of the UFO when a beam of light came out of UFO and they saw the plane chasing it light up and crash to the ground. There was a huge explosion when the plane hit the ground.

Captain Mantell was the first casualty of the Kentucky Air National Guard. The Mantell incident became one of the one of the most publicized of the early UFO incidents. The incident brought about the crash of the P51 Mustang and the death of the 25 year old Kentucky Air National Guard pilot.

It was later revealed that after the body of Captain Mantell's body was recovered that it had thousands of tiny pin holes all over it. This was later disputed but a close friend of his family said the Captain had tiny pin prick holes all over his body. The incident served to convince the U.S. Air Force Intelligent Specialists that UFO incidents were really happening in the United States. Remember they had made the claim back in 1947 that the Roswell UFO was really a weather balloon. However when the Mantell incident occurred they had no way to cover it up. Farmers in their fields saw the UFO shoot down the plane and they told everyone including local newspapers. With in a few days the incident was reported in newspapers all over the United States and around the world. Air Force Special Intelligence Officers thought that Mantell had been shot down in a farm field in Kentucky by a UFO. They told the Commander of the Godman Air Force base the morning after the crash that they believed that Captain Mantell had been chasing a craft that was piloted by intelligent life and that it was likely that the UFO shot Captain Mantell's airplane down.

Later on the U.S. Air Force tried to make the claim that Captain Mantell was pursuing the planet Venus. Astronomers later said that the planet Venus will not have been visible to the naked eye that day. Farmers in the area said they had seen the UFO on several different days including the day Captain Mantell chased it and that it was an object that was metallic in color and that it was 250 to 300 feet across. Several of the farmers said they had seen the UFO low over the trees and that at times it would appear to stop. Calls had also came in from the US Gold Depository at Ft Knox Kentucky describing an object similar to what the farmers described and Captain Mantell was sent to see what it was. Rumors have circulated for years that the Air Force and officers in charge at Ft Knox feared that the UFO was interested in the gold at Fort Knox.

The Wreckage Of Captain Mantell's P51 Mustang
The Wreckage Of Captain Mantell's P51 Mustang

Investigator's who investigated the crash of Mantells crash later said that something was wrong. They said that the plane dropped straight down like it had been dropped and that it only did damage to the place it hit. In almost every crash of this type Investigators said there was always damage to the area from the plane coming down and sliding to a stop. They said that Mantells plane hit the ground and stopped. Just stopped. Which never happens when a plane of this type crashes.

That day at 1.15 the Kentucky State Police said they received several calls from people in the area of Mansville Kentucky reporting a large metallic circular object flying low over the town. One local police officer saw it and described it as round, very large, and metallic looking. Later when the police officer was asked if he was sure it was a spacecraft he had seen the man said that the craft had been just above the tree tops and moving slowly. Then all at once it sped away and vanished only to reappear from another direction in a few minutes.

A few minutes later men in the tower at Godman Air Force base saw the object and they described it the same way. One man watched it for a long time with a pair of binoculars and he said it was clearly a space craft and not of this earth..

A little over an hour after the first sighting Captain Mantell and his fighter group who were flying nearby were asked to investigate the object.

When Captain Mantell got near enough he radioed he had the object in sight and that he was moving in closer to take a look. He said it was a large round metallic object and that it was above him. It was about now that farmers on the ground saw a beam of light come out of the UFO and hit the plane. A few minutes later Mantell's plane hit the ground on the farm of William J Phillips of Franklin Kentucky. Mantell's watch was later discovered to have stopped at 3.16 P.M..

The UFO vanished from there but it was seen as it traveled south over Tennessee and northern Alabama. The story spread like wild fire that a pilot had been shot down pursuing a UFO. The New York Times ran with the story, " Pilot Dies Pursuing UFO ". Newspapers all over the world the incident and this time the U.S. Government wasn't able to cover it up. To many people had talked. You would have needed Will Smith from Men in Black to keep this one quite. Yet its amazing that the average American has never heard of it.

A man in the area at the time of the crash told people that man's plane exploded in mid air. And then he fell just like a rock straight down into the ground. Godman Base Commander Guy F Hix said that he had observed the UFO for over an hour and it did things that only an aircraft from another world would be able to do. He said it stopped at times, sped away and at times it was 200 feet off the ground and later was at 10,000 feet. But the strangest thing that the base commander said was that one of the last things Captain Mantell said over the air was, " My God I See People In That Thing ". Moments later Captain Mantell was dead.

It would appear that Captain Mantell was the first person of earth killed by a UFO. When Mantell's body was found he was of course dead and he was still strapped in his plane. This was one incident that the US Government could not cover up. To much information had got out to fast.

Captain Mantell was later buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery and he was apparently the first earthling at least the one we know of who lost his life pursuing a UFO. There is now a historical marker near the crash site that you can see in the photo at the top of this Hub Page.

It amazes me that with incidents of this type that people still argue that we are the only planet with intelligent life on it. I think it is pretty clear that UFO's are visiting the earth. And I believe that Captain Mantell was shot down by a UFO.

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Did you know that a Kentucky Air National Guard Pilot was killed chasing a UFO.

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Did you know about Captain Mantell that was killed pursuing a UFO? Please Post Your Comments. And thanks for reading my Hub Page.

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    • profile image


      8 months ago

      I heard that after the crash, the ground at the crash site was radioactive and that the wreckage was buried and covered with concrete. This was all reported on a TV show such as Unsolved Mysteries, In Search OF.

      This is the first I have heard that the body was covered with pin hole wounds.

    • profile image

      Rosella Decker 

      4 years ago

      I am 51 years old and have lived in Grayson County Ky all of my life,which is only about 50 miles from Fort Knox.I had never heard of this incident Add Your Comment...

    • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Byers 

      4 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Thanks Lynn for your comment. A lot of people have never heard of the incident.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I heard about this on the history channel.

    • Tabithar profile image


      5 years ago from KY

      I live in Kentucky so I have heard about this. Oddly enough though, you can't find a lot of information on the subject. Have you heard about the calcified UFO that is in Kentucky? The story goes, or so I have heard, that this happened long before the area was inhibited. How far back that would be I am really not sure. Anyway, the Native Americans that first came to this area were the first see it. It was already calcified by then appearing to be part of the rock structure that it sits upon. Looking closer they saw that is wasn't the rock but something else. Not really sure if they tried to do anything with it. I have never seen it myself, it lies somewhere between Lexington and Richmond along the Interstate. They say today that the only way that you can tell that it is a UFO is by its unnatural shape.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Voted interesting. Granted, this was an event a number of years before my birth, but there should have been a movie on it, like Roswell.

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 

      6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Yes, I've known this story for decades.


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