New ‘Flying Saucers’ Excite Kentucky Neighboring States



Source: Lexington (Ky) Herald             January 9, 1948  (page unknown)


By Associated Press


                    Original Article Image: 



            Several areas of Kentucky and adjoining states were excited yesterday over reports of a “flying saucer” which led to the death of one National Guard flier 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.

            Two other members of the Kentucky National Guard, also asked to make a flying investigation of reported “flying saucers” in the area near Fort Knox returned to their Louisville base.

            Two Hopkinsville pilots, James Garret and William Crenshaw, said they chased a flying object which they believed to be a balloon.

            Astronomers at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., reported they saw some object in the sky Wednesday afternoon which they believed to be a balloon but the Nashville Weather Bureau said it knew of no balloons in that vicinity.

            In Southern Ohio, meanwhile, observers reported seeing a flaming red cone near the Army Air Base at Wilmington. Army spokesmen said they had no information on the object or its origin.

            Col. Guy F. Hix, commanding officer at Godman Field, adjoining Fort 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. Mantel, an air hero during the Allied invasion of Normandy, was the third pilot. His mother, Mrs. Thomas F. Mantell, Sr., said in Louisville, she was informed her son flew too high in his pursuit of the object and lost consciousness.

            Glen Mayes, who lives near Franklin, said he saw the Mantell plane flying at an extremely high altitude shortly before it apparently exploded in the air.

            “The plane circled three times like the pilot didn’t know where he was going,” Mayes said, “and then started into a dive from about 20,000 feet. About halfway down there was a terrific explosion.”

            Parts of the plane were scattered over an area two miles wide, Mayes said. None of the craft burned.

            Capt. Mantell entered the Army Air Forces shortly after his graduation from high school and participated in the Normandy invasion and many other European operations during the war.

            Since leaving active duty a year ago, he has been associated with the Kentucky Air National Guard.


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