August 16, 1954
Location: Tananarive, Madagascar
On August 16, 1954, at 05:00pm, an event stupefied tens
of thousands of witnesses at Tananarive, Madagascar (The
number of potential witness is an estimated 200.000).
05:00 p.m., Air France's agency personal awaited the arrival
of the air mail, delivered by a Lockheed Constellation.
One hour after the arrival of the Constellation, the mail
has already been distributed and members of the Air France
agency, among which Mr. Edmond Campagnac, former military
officer and at that time technical director of Air France
in Tananarive were quietly chatting together, close to
the Avenue of the Liberation, the largest street in Tananarive.
somebody sees in the sky a "electric green ball"
descending straight towards the ground near the Palais
de la Reine. He points at it and everybody watches. The
phenomenon disappears behind a hill, and they all expect
to hear a mighty explosion when the thing hit the ground.
the green light does not hit the ground.
green ball reappears a minute afterwards, bigger. It makes
a circle over the higher parts of Tananarive, a city built
on and inside a series of hills with a "horseshoe"
thing then proceeds to fly above Avenue of the Liberation,
at an altitude of some 50 to 150 meters in front of tens
of thousands of amazed inhabitants. When it flew in front
of the Air France personnel, they could all get a good
look at it.
Campagnac realized that the "electric green light"
looks like a kind of lens shaped plasma, of approximately
40 meters length, the "size of a DC4 aircraft."
green lens is closely followed by a flying machine with
a distinct silvery metallic aspect and the shape of a
football, also 40 meter long, At the back of this metal
machine, bluish exhaust flames are seen.
craft was totally silent. M. Campagnac, in his testimony,
which he often publicly offered, explains that the craft
did not even make the sound of swishing a flyier would
make through the air.
this case, it is noticeable that the estimate of altitude
is not subject to doubts: indeed, while flying above the
buildings of Avenue de la Libération, the craft
also passed in front of the hills in the background, not
with the sky as background.
physical phenomena were observed: first of all, the witnesses
in the whole city could note that public lights and shop
lights died out exactly at the moment the craft passed
above them, and functioned again at once behind its passage.
the inhabitants quickly noticed that barnyard animals,
dogs in the whole city, were howling or barking. At one
time during its travel above the city, the UFO flew above
the animal park where peasants keep the animals to be
sold at daytime at the city's markets.
these animals entered a state of total panic when the
object flew over them, though when airplanes flew over
them as usually, for example the "Constellation"
one hour before, the animals did never show any such reaction,
although airplanes are noisy and the UFO, again, was totally
having flown over Tananarive, the machine set out towards
the West. Two or three minutes after, the estimate while
being with this approximation, a similar machine or the
same machine was observed at 150 kilometers South of Tananarive
above a farm school. There again, the herds were seized
farm director had to call for reinforcements in order
to bring back the animals which run away in all directions,
risking death in marshes. It is this call to reinforcements
which made the witnesses of Tananarive aware of this second
the craft observed at 150 km South was the same one as
that of Tananarive, which its description suggests, although
one cannot absolutely prove it, then its speed was to
be about 3000 km/h. According to the statements of Air
France the personal, General Fleurquin, commander-in-chief
of the French Air Force in Madagascar, gathered a scientific
team to carry out an investigation of the phenomena.
trace of this investigation could be found in the Air
Force records, however issue #6 of the GEPA bulletin (Group
of Studies of the Aerospace Phenomena) in the 2nd half
of 1964 described this observation. Mr. Campagnac remembers
perfectly that it is a Jesuit clergyman, Revend Coze,
director of the astronomical observatory of Tananarive,
who has been given the task to carry out the survey and
record the testimonies, including those of Air France
people and also those of Malgaches peasants.
gathering of testimonies also brought out that the UFO
phenomenon did already manifest itself to the Malgache
people on several occasions in the past years, but went
ignored as no one cared to ask until now.
Edmond Campagnac, at the time technical director of Air
France in Tananarive, took part in the study of the case
for the COMETA committee. He expressed himself repeatedly
and very precisely on this case, including of the French
TV, and recently again at a televised debate concerning
UFOS on the documentary cable TV channel "Planète
Forum" in 2001, supported by Jean-Jacques Vélasco,
director of SEPRA, the official French UFO investigation
of this exceptional occurrence, M. Catagnac's life was
not fundamentally perturbated, but indeed as he has a
scientific background, he wanted to learn more on the
topic of UFOs, and in particular, he wanted to search
in the military records of the French Gendarmerie, was
granted a clearance to access classified files, and learned
about many other significant sightings. But this is another
Campagnac remembers that at the time of the investigation
the possibility that it has been a top secret prototype
of a new human flying device, for example a Soviet prototype,
has been considered. But now as time went by and as we
know of the history of aviation development, we clearly
can rule out that any such craft was in the possibility
of any countries in 1954.
"secret plane", even as of today, has anything
in common with the craft in this event, visually, or by
its performances, its operation, its behavior.
Jacques Vélasco has checked and commented the case
and points out its interesting features:
trajectory of the object, descending from a high altitude
vertically to the ground, then showing up again instead
of crashing and flying above the ground at low altitude
over the city.
physical phenomenon of public and private lightings dying
out as the UFO was passing above, and the return to normal
lighting when he went further.
of the animals reactions.
possibility of the correct estimate of the size because
the object passed in front of the hills in the background.
The huge number of witnesses.
heterogeneous cultural background of the witness: "Mr.
Campagnac might have read about UFOs in Science-Fiction
literature, but it is rather doubtful that the Malgaches
peasants were all under the influence of US Science Fiction
fact that the case does not occur in the United States
or a European country, suspected to be a sociological
terrain to made up UFO stories, but in a far away Island,
is an indication that good UFO cases exist all around
Observations from the ground. Tananarive (1954); in the
COMETA "UFOs and the Defense: what must we prepare
for?" 1989. Bulletin du GEPA (Groupe d'Etudes des
Phénomènes Aérospatiaux), Issue 6,
2nd semester, 1964.
Magazine, (Lumières Dans La Nuit - Lights In The
Planète, televised debate, "UFOS", M.
Campagnac repeats his account, J.J. Vélasco comments,
other such as Pierre Lagrange, Claude Ribes listen, 2001.
in the local newspaper Fandrosoam Baovao, January 21,
of August 16, 1954 Tananarive (Madagascar)" in Lumières
dans la Nuit, #328, pp. 5-15, July-August 1994. VSD Hors-Série
n°1, pp. 16-17, july 1998.
Bulletin (Groupe d'Etude des Phénomènes
Aérospatiaux), N°6, 2nd half of 1964.
ovnis survolent Tananarive - 50 ans après, le mystère
demeure", article in the newspaper "Le Journal
de l'Ile", Ile de la Réunion, August 16, 2004.