CLAIMED sightings of UFOs reported to the RAF by terrified members of the British public are to be published online for the first time.
The RAF ran a UFO unit for five decades but chose to shut it down in 2009 after it concluded none of the reports sent in offered evidence of a potential threat.
Previously, records from the unit were given to the National Archives, often initially classified before being released after a specific number of years.
But the most recent reports received by the RAF will be placed online, the PA news agency revealed following a Freedom of Information Act request.
Members of the public reporting alleged UFO sightings are now directed to their local police force.
A spokesman for the RAF said that “it had been assessed that it would be better to publish these records, rather than continue sending documents to the National Archives, and so they are looking to put them on to a dedicated gov.uk web page”.
A clearance process for the documents is currently under way before publication, which is expected to take place “some time within the first quarter of 2020”.
In response to the FOI request, the RAF described the files it held as “comprising entirely of correspondence with members of the public”.
It added: “The MoD has no opinion on the existence or otherwise of extra terrestrial life and does not investigate UFO reports.”
Nick Pope, who used to investigate reports of UFO sightings for the MoD, welcomed the move.
“Given the massive public interest in this subject, I’m pleased that these files will be released and made available online,” he told the PA news agency.
“The MoD have previously claimed that all the files have been released – only to find additional ones – so this latest move is bound to start a few conspiracy theories.
“When I worked on the MoD’s ‘UFO desk’ we didn’t find definitive proof of extraterrestrial visitation, but there were so many bizarre and unexplained sightings that we didn’t entirely rule it out.
“I’m glad the public are to be given further insights into our work on these real-life X-Files.”
The Rendlesham Forest incident: Britain’s most famous UFO sighting
The Rendlesham Forest incident took place in December 1980 over a series of at least two nights.
On December 26, 1980, military personnel at the twin bases of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk saw a strange light in Rendlesham Forest, which lies between the two bases.
Three men were sent out to investigate where two of them encountered a small, triangularshaped craft.
One man, Jim Penniston, got close enough to touch the side of the object.
He and another of the airmen present, John Burroughs, made sketches of the craft for witness statements.
Two nights later Deputy Base Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt and his team then encountered the UFO.
He said later: “Here I am, a senior official who routinely denies this sort of thing and diligently works to debunk them, and I’m involved in the middle of something I can’t explain.”
Despite an MOD investigation the Rendlesham Forest incident remains unexplained.
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