Two large glowing UFOs drifted slowly over a Puerto Rican city, settled down in the Atlantic Ocean about a mile off shore and appeared to go into and out of the ocean a number of times as about two thousand people watched.
Two fishermen in a boat nearby were so frightened they could hardly get their motor started, and some people on shore thought the world had come to an end.
The incident occurred in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico’s third largest city, located on the western end of the island.
The objects were first seen around nine to nine thirty in the evening on September 13, 1977. The first object vanished after half an hour or so but the second was seen moving about Mayagüez Bay for hours, finally disappearing around three in the morning.
“A lot of people were afraid,” said Mayagüez Police Sergeant Ramon Ramirez.
He watched the objects for a while but then devoted the rest of the night to keeping an eye on the crowds and the traffic. “It was a strange object to them andthey didn't know what it was.”
One of the witnesses was Juan Perez Rodriguez, then twenty six, who operated a hamburger stand on the beach where the biggest crowd gathered.
“Some people were frightened, especially old people,” he said. “They were afraid. They didn't know what it was. Some people thought these were things of God and thought it was the end of the world.”
Rafael Lopez and his half brother, Arturo Rivera, were in a boat out in the bay fishing when one of the objects came down near them. Both were frightened and they went into shore.
“Once I got to the beach I wasn't even able to stand up at first because I was trembling,” said Lopez, then twenty nine. “My whole body was trembling. I was pretty shook up."
He and Rivera, then thirty six, had been fishing since four in the afternoon about half a mile from shore. They were due west of Columbus Landing, a housing development along the bay. Lopez said they saw only one of the objects. That was at about nine thirty in the evening.
“It just appeared close to us. We didn't see where it came from. We just all of a sudden noticed it close to us in the water, and when we first saw it, it looked small, and then it seemed to grow very large.
“In the beginning we weren't afraid. We were glad because we thought there was another boat coming close to us. Then we realized it wasn't a boat and we started to get frightened.
“We were hearing a sound like a cricket screeching. I had the impression it was a cricket inside the boat. I've had crickets in the boat before and all you have to do is pound on the sides of the boat and they usually shut up. But as much as we pounded, it didn't quiet. It kept on making sounds.
“As long as we didn't move, the object stayed steady in the water and seemed to get smaller and then larger. And when it got larger, it got much brighter and then it would change colors. When it would grow brighter, it would get from like yellow to an orange color.
“Than we got frightened and decided to leave. But the boat had run out of gasoline. We had a little bit of gas in a bottle but we were really nervous by that time. We were trying to get the cap off the motor to put the gasoline in and we couldn’t because we were real nervous.
“And all this time the object kept getting closer and closer to us and we were getting more and more nervous. We finally got the cap off, and it finally started and we were able to start toward the beach.”
After they got to shore and recovered from their fright, the two went to their respective homes.
“When I got back to my house, which is very close to the beach, I started to watch the object again,” said Lopez. “This time it was moving around real fast. It would seem to disappear and reappear again at a great distance from where it had disappeared from, darting back and forth.
“I've been a fisherman for a long time and I've been out on that water for a long time and I've never seen anything like what I saw that night.”
Asked what he thought the object was, Lopez said: “In my opinion, it was a UFO, a flying saucer."
Mayagüez Police Lieutenant Cesar Grácia watched the objects most of the night. Other fishermen were on the shore that night, he said, but the police wouldn’t let them go out in boats to investigate because of possible danger. “But the fishermen said very clearly they had no intention of going out there for any reason."
Grácia, who was in charge of the police shift that night, said he watched the objects off and on from about nine o'clock until one in the morning. He was in a patrol car by himself when he first noticed one of the lights.
“I saw something in the sky that I didn't know what it was,” Grácia said. “It was over Highway Two about fifteen hundred feet, a large, lighted ball about six feet in diameter. It was going toward the beach very slowly.”
He was headed for the Mayagüez Hilton Hotel in the hills on the north side of the city at the time and he continued on to the hotel.
“I was in the parking lot of the Hilton when they called me from the police department,” Grácia said. “They told me to go to the beach because a great many people were watching this object.
“When I got there, the object was already hovering over the water about two or three miles off the beach. There were about five hundred people watching. There are about four public housing areas right there and all the people from the housing areas were there.
“I saw one light coming down but when I got to the beach I noticed there were two objects in the water, not together but about a mile away from each other. They were hovering over the water, right about at the water level.
“Because of the distance I couldn’t tell if it was a few feet over the water or if they were actually touching the water. The first object stayed about an hour but the second one lasted at least four hours.
“I wasn’t able to stay because I had other obligations, but I was there for quite some time. Later I returned again and it was still going on. And I left once more.
COAST GUARD NOT INTERESTED
“When the first one disappeared, I saw it go. When the second one disappeared, I was no longer there. I stopped more than one time that evening for maybe five minutes at a time to watch. I couldn't say exactly that it hadn’t moved but it was more or less in the same area.”
The first time he saw the first object, he said, “it was reddish-orange. When I spotted it in the sky it was a reddish color. It was bright but it wasn’t overpowering.
“There were maybe five hundred people in the area where I was watching and all along the whole coast there were other people watching. A group of officers on duty that night also saw it, between five and ten.
“We called the Coast Guard but the Coast Guard didn't come. The answer they gave us was that the police had to verify it first, that if there was a real emergency then the Coast Guard would be dispatched."
The U.S. Coast Guard had a small contingent of men with several helicopters stationed at what used to be Ramey Air Force Base near the city of Aguadilla about thirty-five miles north of Mayagüez.
“I know of no other helicopters in this area,” Lieutenant Grácia said. “The Coast Guard is the only military unit here.
“There were many, many phone calls to the police station that night. The next day another object was seen but it seemed smaller, and there have been other sightings since but we haven't made any reports on them."
Police Sergeant Ramirez, then an eleven-year veteran of the police force, was close to the area where the object was first seen.
“I saw people gathering along the beach so I stopped my car. I was very curious, not only because there were people there but also because they were looking up. So I stopped and saw the light, which was very bright.
“When I got out of the car I saw the object fall into the water, very bright and it like divided. First one sank into the water. About twenty seconds after, the other one went into the water also. It zigzagged a little before it went down and turned off. That was about nine thirty.
“I stayed around to keep traffic moving and see what the people were doing in case there was an accident or anything. Word got around and there were over a thousand people watching these things.
POLICE GET ‘MANY CALLS’
"People came out of their houses to see the view and people came in cars, parked on the side of the street and went to the beach to see what was happening. I stayed until midnight, mostly keeping an eye on the group so there wouldn’t be any problems.”
Ramirez said he stayed until about midnight directing traffic. In describing the object as he first saw it, he said: "It was pretty high, like an orange-yellow light. I don't know exactly the size. As it came down it got larger. It was pretty good sized.
“The police got many, many phone calls, all night. We called the Coast Guard but they didn’t come. They said it wasn't an emergency.”
Asked what he thought the objects were, Ramirez said, “I think they were mystery objects. I was impressed by what I saw."
Mayagüez Police Lieutenant Luis Comacho didn't see the objects but said: "There were many other officers who saw this."
Juan Perez, who owns the hamburger stand on the beach, said: “A friend got worried and called me at home because there were too many cars in our parking lot. I came over about ten o'clock and I saw one of the objects.
“It was about the size of a basketball, very bright, yellowish-orange. It was about two hundred feet high and then it went down and stayed close to the water and disappeared into the water. It hit the water and the light just faded away.
“The second one came up and went down again, sometimes like it turned on and off. It just came up and down again and it was steady. It went in and out of the water about ten times. It took about four or five minutes each way. It would go about twenty feet above the water and come back down.”
He said a hundred to a hundred fifty cars were parked in the lot next to his hamburger stand “and about seven or eight hundred people. I sold plenty that night. I sold four hundred dollars more than what I usually make!
“I don’t believe it was an airplane or helicopter or the Coast Guard or some boat. I think they were strange objects. I'm used to seeing boats and planes and all these big ships coming in, and this was way different. People were very shocked. People were asking me, ‘What do you think it could be?’ ”
BINOCULARS REVEAL ‘BALL OF FIRE’
Victor Mantilla, a business student, had just returned to his home at the Columbus Landing housing development about eight forty five and was talking with several friends, all about his age. Speaking for himself, Alberto Sojo, Angel Bellester, Orlando Neves and others at the interview, Mantilla said:
“I had just come home from school. I sat down with the guys and all of a sudden we saw a light crossing overhead toward the beach. I saw two objects, two lights, yellowish-orange. We ran over to the beach, about two blocks away. They were about a hundred feet apart. People just started coming.
“All of a sudden, one light just went into the water and turned off and all of a sudden it came out of the water. The first one turned off. The next one crossed to the right (north) and stayed about two or three feet above the water until one in the morning. I left about one o'clock but people stayed because it was still there."
Mantilla had a pair of binoculars and said the object looked “like a ball of fire maybe two and a half to three feet tall. I didn’t hear any noise.
“There were thousands of people over there that night. They were all over the beach. The group around here was about eight hundred and there had to be hundreds more elsewhere, so there could easily have been two thousand.
“Everybody that went by in a car parked their cars and looked. You could see it very clearly. A lot of people were afraid.
“It was a pretty strong light. It lit up the water. You could see the reflection of the light and it was so strong you could see the waves. When it passed over, all this area at the housing project got very bright.”
One object appeared to be having problems as it passed overhead, Mantilla said, “It stopped all of a sudden and then it kept on going. It made a jerking motion. It dipped, would go again a little to the right and then it stopped again.”
When the objects got out over the water, “the one to the left went dead, turned right off like it fell in the water. The other one crossed to the right and went around a buoy."
TIPS SIDEWAYS AND GOES INTO BAY
Luis Baez, who also lived at Columbus Landing, said: “I was playing pool and someone said, 'Look!' I came outside with my pool stick and I see this thing. It was something nice to see. It was round looking, like an apple. Nice, round, beautiful. It went toward the beach.
"I put my pool stick away and went down to the beach and looked. A friend said, ‘That thing that's waiting over there is not a fishing boat.’ I said, ‘Sure it's a boat’ and he said, ‘It’s not!’ So then the one that came by overhead was coming down near the other one. They stayed like that for three or four minutes maybe a thousand yards apart.
“The bigger one, the one that was waiting, tipped on its side and BLOOM! Into the water! The small one stayed for a while. After half an hour or so I went up to the roof of this garage and laid down and watched. I wanted to make sure if it moved or not.
“And I could see this thing goes up… down… this way to the right, back again and a few times it went this way into the water. You could see the water flashing. It never went all the way down in the water.
“It did that a few times, it goes up, comes down, moved toward the beach but not too close and it goes back. At one o'clock in the morning I went home to sleep. I have to be up early in the morning.
“So I slept, went to work and when I come back I asked a few friends of mine what happened to the one that was up there. Well at three o'clock in the morning it disappeared. There were about a thousand people at the beach where he was.”
Asked if he thought what he had seen was a boat, plane or helicopter, Baez said: “We might have no schools but we are not dumb."
NOT ‘SOMETHING FROM THIS WORLD’
Another witness was Mrs. Auria Andujar, who lived on the beach less than a mile south of the hamburger stand. She knew nothing about the objects until her husband came home from work about ten thirty that night and told her about the crowds of people he had seen.
"I went out to the beach to see what I could see,” Mrs. Andujar said. “As soon as I realized this was something out of the ordinary, I stayed to see what it would do. And it started to move down into the water and then it would rise up again above the water and go back down into the water again. By then, I realized it wasn't something from this world.
“It was a large, very brilliant light between yellow and tangerine color, like the color of flames. It seemed to have a greenish light on the top of it. My daughter, Ida Luz, who lives close by, came to watch also.
“On two occasions it rose up off the water and came close to the house. When it was halfway from where it began, it seemed to be shining a light toward the house as though it were a beacon. Then it would go back down in the water and when it was under the water it would go back out to where it had been and then rise up again.
“I watched it until about two o'clock in the morning. It was still there when I went to bed. I was afraid to go to bed but I was afraid to stay there on the beach by myself.
“I was frightened because I was convinced it wasn’t anything from this earth."