Location: Cordoba, Argentina
sighting is one of the best recorded in Argentina. The
witness is a high-ranking officer of the Argentinean Air
Force (AAF), who by a fluke was able to obtain a remarkable
photograph as supporting evidence of his encounter. Captain
Niotti was driving from Yacanto toward Cordoba. He suddenly
noticed a rather close and unusual object hovering near
the ground and proceeded to take a photo of the object.
The Cordoba/Yacanto photograph.
Enlargement of the photograph. Near the center of the
image can be seen a horse whose
head is turned around, its attention apparently drawn
by the object.
Dr. Willy Smith
By Dr. Willy Smith
DATE: July 3, 1960
TIME: 4:30 PM
DURATION: 40 sec.
PLACE: Yacanto, Cordoba, Argentina.
sighting is one of the best recorded in Argentina, but
it is practically unknown to English-speaking ufologists
as it has been published in Spanish magazines only. Perhaps
for that very reason, it has escaped the attention of
the professional debunkers, but a more likely cause is
that it is an extraordinary case for which their usual
hand-waving techniques simply would not work.
is a single-witness case, but this witness is a high-ranking
officer of the Argentinean Air Force (AAF), who by a fluke
was able to obtain a remarkable photograph as supporting
evidence of his encounter.
in Argentina, and perhaps due to the association of the
witness with the AAF, the case was not given much publicity
until 1977, when it finally was reported in UFO PRESS
witness in this sighting is Hugo F. Niotti, then a captain
of the AAF assigned to the Air Force School for Sub-officers
located in the city of Cordoba. Contrary to what many
would expect, his involvement in the case did not affect
his military career, and seventeen years later, when finally
interviewed by Roncoroni, he had risen to the high rank
of vice-commodore, occupying a responsible position with
July 3, 1960, then Captain Niotti was driving from Yacanto
toward Cordoba. The weather was inclement, typical of
what one would expect for that area in the middle of winter.
It was drizzling off and on, and the cloud deck was very
low, perhaps 100-150 m.. The road was rather slippery,
and Capt. Niotti was concentrating hard on his driving.
approximately 4:30 p.m., he was in the area of Villa General
Belgrano, about 70 Km from the city of Cordoba. He had
finished negotiating a wide S-curve, when he suddenly
noticed a rather close and unusual object hovering near
the ground to the right of the road.
he stopped the car, grabbed his camera, fortunately next
to him on the seat, moved a few steps away, and proceeded
to take a photo of the object, which was moving slowly.
While he was engaged in winding the film to take a second
shot, the object started to accelerate and disappeared
into the clouds, which as stated, were very low.
whole incident had lasted about 40 seconds and had developed
into the most absolute silence. This eerie silence, coupled
with the bad weather and the abruptness of the incident,
gave Capt. Niotti a sense of irreality, which puzzled
and confused him. In this mood, he jumped back into his
car and continued his trip to Cordoba, where he proceeded
to have the film processed.
is Capt. Niottis description of what he had seen.
The object was conical in shape, with a height of 7-8
meters and a base diameter of 3-4 meters, with its axis
almost parallel to the ground and its base facing the
witness. It was at a distance of 80 to 100 meters from
his location and moving very slowly toward the south,
perhaps at 10 KPH, always parallel to the ground. It was
rotating, also very slowly. It then accelerated very rapidly,
attaining a speed of perhaps 200 KPH in 3 or 4 seconds,
and disappeared into the low cloud bank. This sudden acceleration
without any sound was inexplicable to the witness in view
of his proximity.
color of the object was a uniform dark gray. The surface
was perfectly smooth without joints or rivets and had
a definite metallic aspect.
an officer of the AAF, Niotti was naturally reclutant
to divulge his experience and initially told only a few
fellow officers, who persuaded him to send the negatives
and copies to the "Revista Nacional de Aeronautica"
(RNA); the editors of this official magazine transmitted
the photo to the "Servicio de Informaciones de
Aeronautica" (SIA), a technical service available
to the Air force.
SIA gave a good bill of health to the photo, and the sighting
was reported by the RNA in its issue of November, 1960.
It is remarkable that never before or after, have the
Armed Forces made public the results of a UFO investigation.
the years to follow, many examinations of this photo have
been done except, perhaps, by the so-called debunkers,
and no negative options have been voiced.
are two interesting details in the photo which must be
emphasized. When Capt. Niotti saw the object, his perception
was of a uniform color; thus, he was surprised -- after
developing the film -- that in the photographic image
the base of the cone is a dull black, without any gradation
of color in spite of being oriented toward the sun, which
was hidden by the clouds. The rest of the cone appears
much lighter, to the point that it is sometimes difficult
to obtain copies showing it clearly, due to the high contrast
between the base and the sky background. The edges of
the base, in the original negative, appear sharp and well-defined,
even more defined that other elements appearing in the
photograph. It seems as if the base of the cone were a
total sink of radiation, reflecting no light.
copy of the photo presented in this report is from a second-generation
negative, and its quality does not compare with the prints
made from the original negative.
other anomalous detail in the photo is the presence of
a horse whose head is turned around, its attention apparently
drawn by the object. As anyone familiar with a rural environment
knows, horses kept in pastures near roads become totally
indifferent to traffic and will not interrupt their grazing
for the presence of a car. Nevertheless, the horse seems
to be looking directly at the object, placed halfway between
him and the road.
existence of the horse is fortunate, as it has allowed
some estimates of sizes and distances. The Argentinean
investigators have performed some photogrammetry using
the original negative, and report that the horse is about
80 meters from the road, which places the object at no
more than 50 meters from Capt. Niotti. No wonder he was
surprised by the absolute silence!.
the basis of these estimates, the dimensions of the cone
were 7 m. in height and 6 m. in diameter, and it was 17
meters above the ground, in good agreement with the numbers
indicated by Capt. Niotti.
the most interesting detail, which I have reserved for
the end, is that Capt. Niotti was extremely surprised
when he inspected the copies of the photo and saw the
horse, as he had not noticed its presence during the incident.
This is a clear indication of his concentration while
taking the photo, and his disorientation after the sudden
departure of the object when he just jumped back into
his car and continued his trip.
case with a single witness usually is not even considered
for incorporation into UNICAT, but in this instance, we
have two circumstances that allow an exception to the
we have a competent witness, trained by his profession
to observe details, who did not lose his presence of mind
when confronted with the unknown. On the contrary, he
reacted promptly, snatching his camera and jumping out
of his car to obtain a unique graphic document.
second, the photograph by itself lends enough credibility
to the case to make it deserve serious consideration.
Not only has the photo repeatedly been shown to be genuine,
but it is inconceivable that the Air Force officer would
compromise his career with a fabrication that would bring
him nothing but problems and discredit. For those who
know Vice-commodore Niotti, this option is unthinkable.
the UNICAT viewpoint, the case also offers some interesting
characteristics which confirm its value. Among the many
parameters searched for when studying the case, there
are two that are considered as particularly significant
because of their high statistical incidence. Both of them
apply to this sighting:
driving a vehicle
LR: lonely road or place
The first of these parameters appears in the UNICAT data
base with a frequency of 33.8%, while LR shows a frequency
of 37.9%, both of them being included within the ten most
third parameter that is not so frequent, but that seems
to occur in significant cases, is also found for this
incident. It is the RC parameter, i.e., "rounding
a curve". It indicates that the witness suddenly
notices the phenomenon when coming out of a curve in the
Roncoroni, G.; FOTO DE ONVI AVALADA POR LA FUERZA AEREA
ARGENTINA, in UFO PRESS #3, April 1977.
SOURCES & ARTICLES:
Galindez, "Unusual Photographs from Argentina,"
in Flying Saucer Review vol. 13 no. 1 (Jan/Feb 1967)