Friday, November 14, 2008

Needles UFO Crash May 14, 2008

At the 6th Annual UFO Crash Retrieval Conference in Las Vegas (registration area seen here), George Knapp told of a UFO crash along the Colorado River near Needles, California on May 14, 2008. Make no mistake here. There was a UFO crash, but also remember that UFO doesn’t necessarily translate into extraterrestrial.

Knapp told the audience during his Keynote address that he had investigated the case from the beginning, talked to the witnesses, and learned that five helicopters had flown into the area within minutes of the crash. Something real had happened.

According to witnesses, about three in the morning, a cylinder-shaped object with a turquoise glow, fell out of the sky and crashed west of the Colorado River. A witness, known as Bob on the River (because he lives on a houseboat and they "bob" in the water as they float) and who lives in Topock, Arizona said that he had seen the object as it flew over. He thought it was on fire. He didn’t see it hit the ground, given the terrain, but he did hear it. He told Knapp that it smacked into the sand.

Bob tried to call for help, but his satellite phone wouldn’t work. Not long after the crash, however, he heard the pulsating beat of rotor blades and saw five helicopters in a loose formation heading toward the crash site. One of them broke off to circle his houseboat and then rejoined the others. These might have been Huey’s, though it seems that’s a name applied to many helicopters. I suspect that they were Black Hawks, but no matter.

The helicopters located the wreck and according to Bob on the River, the fifth helicopter known as a Sky Crane retrieved the object. Although unseen by any of the witnesses, some of the helicopters had to land so that the object, whatever it was, could be rigged for lifting.

Bob said that the object, still glowing, was airlifted from the site, and carried away. All the helicopters went with it.

Had Bob on the River been the lone witness we might have been able to dismiss his story as the musings of a loner who lived on a houseboat. This is not to mention that not long after this happened, Bob disappeared.

Frank Costigan, once the chief of airport security at the Los Angeles airport and a retired police chief and a man who would seem to be more credible than Bob, said that he had seen the object when he got up at three to let out his cat. He said that he knew the object was not a meteorite because it seemed to changed speed. According to Costigan, it was bright enough to have illuminated the ground. It disappeared behind some hills and didn’t reappear. Clearly it was down.

In a bizarre incident, David Hayes, the owner of KTOX radio in Needles, said that on his way to work he saw a strange assortment of odd vehicles getting off the highway. He produced a rough drawing that he showed to George Knapp (seen here). This seemed to be a "Men in Black" sighting.

There were all sorts of other, seemingly related events. According to what Knapp learned, "Out of the blue the station got a call from a friend in Laughlin [also on the Colorado River] who said the Laughlin Airport had been inundated on the night of the crash with so-called Janet planes. That’s the airline that flies workers to top secret Area 51. Costigan says the airport could not confirm this because no one is on duty after 6 p.m... not even the tower."

Knapp continued, "The black vehicles have left Needles. Bob the houseboat guy can’t be found either... The point is, something definitely happened."

Knapp, of course, continued the investigation. He learned that the vehicles, sometimes black, were often seen in the Needles area and he, along with his camera crew were able to spot and photograph them. Knapp said that he joined in the formation as it drove down the road. One of the vehicles eventually pulled over and Knapp did th same thing.
There was an encounter with the crew, who were armed and who suggested they were federal agents. One of them flashed an ID at Knapp who said that he hadn’t gotten a good look at it and was shown it again.

Eventually the confrontation, if that’s what it was, ended and everyone went on their own way. Later Knapp received a call from a friend with the Department of Energy who told Knapp he was lucky that the confrontation ended as peacefully as it did.

Knapp would learn that these agents, black vehicles and all, had nothing to do with the UFO crash, if that’s what it was, but with a very real and security-wrapped federal mission. Knapp would be the first reporter allowed to see the training of the agents. These dark vehicles, often on the roads around Needles had nothing to do with the object’s crash.

So, one mystery solved, but what happened to Bob on the River? Knapp eventually found him and talked to him at length about what he had seen. Bob on the River couldn’t add much to the descriptions that others had, or rather, he had given to others. The object struck with a thud, like something smacking into sand.

Knapp said, at the Crash Retrieval Conference that he knew Bob’s real name and even showed us video of the interviews that hadn’t aired on Las Vegas television. Bob told a solid story and his somewhat unorthodox life style didn’t play into it. Bob on the River had seen something fall out of the sky.

Knapp, in his presentation made it clear the helicopters had been on the scene in less than twenty minutes and that meant that someone, somewhere, had been monitoring the progress of the object. Someone, somewhere knew what it was. Knapp gave the impression that he didn’t believe it to be of extraterrestrial origin.
The next day, meaning the next day after Knapp’s presentation and not the next day after the crash, I had a chance to talk to Knapp about this. He told me that he believed, based on what he had seen and learned, that the object was an experimental craft that had failed. The helicopters got there too fast for anything else.

In the end, there are two solutions to this. One is the extraterrestrial, but that seems to be the least likely. The other is that this was an experimental object, probably some sort of advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) belonging to the US government. They retrieved it before anyone in Needles or Topock got a good look at it. At the moment, that is the explanation that I prefer.


Bob Koford said...

Obtained from:
The Computer UFO Network
Document quoted from:
US Air Force Intelligence Guidance Collection Letter No. 4
25 April 1961

Priority Air Intelligence Requirement (PAIR-1F).

Based on estimates of the time and place of foreign earth satellite vehicle (ESV) atmospheric re-entries, Headquarters USAF (AFCIN) initiates MOON DUST Alerts...They are issued as far in advance as practicable (normally 10 days) and are automatically cancelled three (3) days after the re-entry prediction date stated in the alert message"
"...At these distances, the re-entry would appear to resemble a meteor travelling in a near horizontal or descending path and, as the distance decreased, would appear as a brilliant object or cluster of objects visible during daylight conditions. In addition, an audible rumbling sound like thunder, and possibly sharp explosion-like sounds might be correlated with the sighting"

"...(3) Make every effort to obtain object for U.S. if it appears to be a portion of Soviet space vehicle or other material deemed to be of air technical intelligence interest.
(4) Arrange expeditious delivery of recovered object to Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center (AFCIN-4A), Wright-Patterson A. F. B. , Ohio"

If this was a foreign space object, being tracked by Hanscom Field/Lincoln Labs, Massachusetts, then it wouldn't have been so strange to have the recovery team already at hand, so-to-speak. They'd have been positioned someplace close to the projected impact area.

Interestingly, the object in question seemed to stay in one piece, even after a presumed re-entry.
The greenish color is interesting, also.

starman said...

Are UAVs as bright as what Costigan saw? And if this was just a burned out satellite,why wasn't it identified? Also, can the impact area be predicted with that much accuracy?

Bob Barbanes: said...

Couple of things...

1) If it was a meteor or some such, one would think that it would be much too hot for too long to be immediately sling-loaded out of there;

2) Given the fact that so many helicopters were so quickly on-scene, the military definitely knew what was happening before it did;

3) The U.S. military no longer uses CH-54 "Skycranes." Their heavy lift is carried out by CH-53 or tandem-rotor CH-47 helicopters;

4) The "UAV-gone-wrong" theory is probably the one that fits best. We can only imagine the things that our government is experimenting with, and we probably have no idea how far they've really progressed.

5) If "something" crash-landed on the Colorado River, and helicopters and men were attending to it, shouldn't there be some physical evidence left behind? Tracks/marks in the sand, etc.? I would think that, unless it's in a full-time Restricted Area with no access by civilian aircraft, a flyover should reveal something of interest.

UFO, indeed!

KRandle said...


George Knapp made it clear that the area of the crash was rough, filled with tangled growth and they weren't sure exactly where it hit. Had they been able to find the exact crash location, then the evidece you suggest, and maybe bits of debris would have been recovered.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Thank you, thank you.

TemplarScribe said...

Hello, Kevin! I'm a big fan of your writing, and I'm glad you're following the Needles incident so closely.

In reply to Bob's "Couple of Things" post:

Researchers are apparently still undecided as to whether deep space objects (like meteors) are hot to the touch after they land, or are cold enough to display frost. An interesting though short discussion can be found at .

Snippet FTA: "Unfortunately, there really aren't very many meteors that are picked up directly after they've fallen, so it's hard to do good statistics on which ones are hot or cold. So far it seems that some of each have been found. For example, this FAQ lists reports of meteorites (compiled by Don Blakeslee of Wichita State University) that have been touched soon after they fell, and some people reported that the rock was hot, some that it was warm, and some that there was frost on the outside..."

I'd be of the opinion that the greenish glow, whatever its cause, was not due to atmospheric heating, since it persisted after being retrieved and carried away. So what was its cause it? I believe that, if the tales of the account are true, then the turquoise glow most likely was an artifact of the power source.

Keep in mind, integral to the object's fall were reports that the object slowed or stopped, before its final descent. That would suggest the object was being piloted or controlled in some way. And the speed at which the helo team located the crash site (within twenty minutes, apparently), suggests there was either a prearranged landing site, or else the helos were flying in support of any possible trouble.

Of course, there have been previous high-profile UFO-helicopter pairings, the most famous of which being the Cash-Landrum sighting in Dayton, Texas, in 1980, where a wobbling top-shaped craft was pursued by a fleet (as many as a dozen) of military helicopters, including at least one Skycrane heavy lift chopper.

But before we could make a best guess on whether the Needles object was a piloted object in distress, we'd need to know a trajectory and/or a flight path, to determine if the object's initial height was in the range of, say, 10-20,000 feet (nominal altitude for a training flight, below airliner lanes yet high enough to avoid birds and such), or if it originated in excess of 100,000 feet, which might indicate a reentry from outer space.

But the skeptic in me -- always riding shotgun in any pursuit of the paranormal -- is disturbed by the fact that the three primary witnesses have are all connected to a single media source: the radio station KTOX, which is owned by David Hayes (who witnessed MIB-type trucks in the vicinity), and also coincidentally employs Frank Costigan, who witnessed the object's descent as he walked his cat at 3 in the morning (an odd event in itself, to be sure).

According to Bill Knell at, Costigan "occasionally does special reports and news investigations for KTOX." It was Costigan's call to Hayes about his 3 AM sighting that prompted Hayes to relate his own encounter with the trucks, and to broadcast the incident on Hayes' station, to which Bob on the River called in to add his own remarkable sighting.

From all the reports I've read, there is only one other witness to the meteoric fall, a young boy who witnessed it through a telescope and called his father outside, who then watched the retrieval procession through binoculars.

The particulars of the sightings and the connection of the witnesses can be read in full in George Knapp's own reports at (in three parts).

I truly dislike casting cold water on this incident, since the turquoise cylinder has been reported in the area before (in 1997, and in 2002 at 3 AM again, according to Bill Knell). But the fact that all three of the primary witnesses are affiliated with KTOX make me wary, to say the least, about the veracity of this report.


TemplarScribe said...

Sorry, folks, but Blogger truncated the above links.
Bill Knell's insightful reporting is at

Sorry, but you'll have to paste the extensive link together.

And George Knapp's reports are at:

Check the in-column links for Part 2, and Part 3, entitled "New Mystery Surfaces On The River."


Unknown said...

i did not see the crash or the ufo flying but i did see the black hawks fly to needles and fly back about 20 to 30 mins later carrying something

Ash Paladium said...

Was a man made TR-3B. Gravitational disruption/ Magnetic Plasma Propulsion.