Unsealed: Alien Files (2012–…): Season 4, Episode 5 - The Shoot Down Order - full transcript

Since the Jet Age, fighter pilots have been scrambled to intercept UFOs in our skies, but what happens when pilots are sent a Shoot Down Order and can't complete their mission?

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[narrator] Since the jet age,

fighter pilots have been scrambled
to intercept UFOs in our skies.

But what happens when pilots are sent
with a shoot-down order?

Fighter pilots are forced
to confront something

they have never trained for
and officially does not exist.

And when they encounter UFOs,

their mission
automatically becomes classified.

Some pilots claim
they can't catch the UFO.

Others report their weapons jam
when they try to fire.

What happens on these missions
is often made top secret.

Is combat stress
affecting pilot testimony?

Are UFOs so technologically superior,
they escape us at will?

And what happens when a UFO
can even sense a pilot's intent to attack?

Join us, as we investigate

dangerous fighter pilot encounters
with UFOs.

A global effort has begun.

Secret files hidden from the public
for decades,

detailing every UFO account
are now available to the public.

We are about to uncover the truth
behind these classified documents.

Find out what the government
doesn't want you to know.

Unsealed: Alien Files,

exposing the biggest secrets
on planet Earth.

Fighter pilots are responsible
for the safety of our skies.

It's a dangerous job
that takes lightning-fast reflexes

and nerves of steel.

They are some of the most
highly trained professionals in the world.

But there is one threat
they have not trained for.

It's one thing to, you know,
be in a dogfight with an enemy aircraft,

but--but a UFO that, for all you know,
has technology, uh, way ahead of your own,

you go up there as a pilot,
and what's going through your mind is,

"I may not come back down again."

[narrator] One incident in the late 1940s,
near America's largest gold reserve

strikes fear
in the hearts of American pilots

and incites a media firestorm.

Unsealed case file:
the Mantell Incident.

January 7th, 1948, Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Captain Thomas F. Mantell
is a decorated World War II pilot

with over 2,000 hours of flight time.

While patrolling the skies,

he's told that a westbound circular object
about 250 feet across

has entered the Kentucky Airspace.

In January of 1948,

Thomas Mantell was piloting
a P-51 Mustang,

along with two other P-51s.

[narrator] Three witnesses
in the control tower

of Goldman Field at Fort Knox
make visual contact.

The P-51 Mustangs
of the Kentucky Air National Guard

turn toward the object and accelerate.

Mantell allegedly reports over his radio
that the object looks metallic

and is of tremendous size.

He got to about 20,000 feet

when his P-51
then began to spiral out of control

and later crashing,
killing 25-year-old Thomas Mantell.

[narrator] Rumor spreads that
Mantell has been shot down by a UFO.

It's the first incident in US history

where a fighter pilot
allegedly dies engaging a UFO.

For the first time,
the Air Force and the public realize

that UFOs are more than just mysterious.

They can also be deadly.

The question is, how did he crash?

It didn't crash in the ground
like a normal explosion,

like if they'd taken the thing
and dropped it out of the sky, boom.

And the time on his watch
had stopped at the time of impact.

The other idea is
the UFO had an effect on his plane.

[narrator] Some experts also believe,
Mantell may have been chasing

a top secret weather balloon
called Skyhook.

Multiple Skyhook balloons were launched
250 miles northeast that same day,

but none of the explanations stick,

and the military begins to make
UFO identification a top priority.

It's gonna definitely start spreading
throughout the military

and create some kind of hysteria or fear,

because if--if--
if your commanding officer says,

"Get this enemy,"

and this enemy is better than you,

there's a huge threat to that,
and that's a huge problem.

[narrator] Years later,
an incident in Brazil

confirms the one fact that has dogged
the world's military for 40 years.

Chasing UFOs is one thing,

catching them
is an entirely different matter.

Unsealed case file:
the Sao Paulo UFO Incident.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 19th, 1986.

Twenty UFOs are tracked on radar
and seen by eyewitnesses on the ground.

Two F-5Es and three Mirage fighter jets

are scrambled from Santa Cruz
and Annapolis Air Force Base.

We had ground radar tracking 20 objects.

We had multiple airplanes
seeing this thing over the 4 hours.

Some of these pilots
then acquired the UFOs visually

as well as on their radars.

This went on, uh,
involved at least 6 military aircraft,

um, maybe more.

[narrator] In a press conference,
Brazilian General Octavio Lima states,

"At one point, the chase was inverted

and an F-5E fighter was surrounded
by 13 colored lights,

and chased with seven on one side
and six on the other."

Afterwards, uh,
this was clearly taken seriously

within the Brazilian government,
um, at high-level.

Senior Air Force officers were involved.

I believe the minister of Aeronautics
was involved at one stage.

[narrator] The Sao Paulo incident
is discussed openly

by high-ranking government officials
in Brazil.

But then, in the end, it was suggested
that perhaps this was just space debris.

Could it have been space debris?

Of course, it could have been space debris

if space debris likes to
sit in one place and hover,

but probably not.

[narrator] A short message
from the US Defense Attaché in Rio

to the US Defense
Intelligence Agency reads,

"Three visual sightings
and positive radar contact

from three different types
of radar systems,

leads one to believe
that something arrived over Brazil."

Armed with a shoot-down order,

jet fighters have been intercepting
unknowns in our skies for decades.

But what happens
when they decide to pull the trigger?

Unsealed case file:
the Tehran incident.

Tehran, Iran, September 19th, 1976.

A UFO is spotted by civilians
and confirmed by the control tower

at Tehran's
Mehrabad International Airport.

The thing was about 300 foot in diameter.

It was--it was on radar.

The F-4 Phantoms were scrambled.

This thing was getting
bigger in their screen, and they said,

"What should we do?"

And control said, "Shoot it down."

[narrator] One pilot
gets close to the UFO.

He describes it
as an extremely bright object,

like a small glowing moon.

But what happens next defies explanation.

A secondary UFO
emerges out of the primary UFO

and shoots straight toward
the pilots' F-4 Phantom.

Now, to a pilot,
if you see a craft eject something

and it's coming at you,
it just fired a missile at you.

So the next thing that he does,
is he arms his AIM-4 Missile,

flips the switch,
and he's gonna fire back.

[Murillo] And just as he's ready
to pull the trigger,

everything goes dead in his cockpit.

The missile's disarmed, everything's gone.
His engines are working,

but he's flying, but he can't shoot.

[narrator] It's a terrifying moment
for any pilot.

And in this case,

the unknown objects
have defied the laws of physics.

Before it impacts his craft,
it makes a dip,

and loops around his aircraft
and rejoins the original UFO,

as pretty much to say,
"I don't think so. Don't even try it."

You gotta ask yourself the question,
what sort of technology can defeat radar,

turn it off,
turn off your electronic systems

but keep your engine running,
selectively disarm your weapons.

What sort of technology can do that?

We don't know. We don't have it,
but somebody out there does.

[narrator] The Tehran incident
is unprecedented in ufology

because of the existence of the detailed
Defense Intelligence report

filed three days later.

This is all documented
in a four page declassified document

in the United States
Intelligence Community.

This was obviously a very important event.

An incident like the Tehran incident,
everyone's gonna take that seriously,

from the CIA to the DIA
to--to the US Air Force.

[Greenewald] When you read
from the first word to the last,

reads like science fiction.

They cannot explain this case even today.

[narrator] But there is another
important document on the Tehran Incident,

one that explains why top secret agencies
are still studying UFOs.

The declassified expert assessment reports

credibility of many
of the witnesses was high.

Visual sightings were confirmed by radar

and similar electromagnetic effects
were reported by three aircraft.

[Greenewald] We are then confronted
with something

that is literally out of this world,
that has nothing to do with

anything they've been trained to--

All of a sudden
you go from being the best of the best

to quite possibly inferior
to what you're facing.

And that's a huge threat
to any military anywhere in the cosmos.

How do you carry out your orders, uh,

on something that you five minutes ago
didn't think existed anyway?

[narrator] The final conclusion
of the 1976 Tehran DIA Assessment states,

"An outstanding report.

This case is a classic,

which meets all the criteria necessary
for a valid study of the UFO phenomenon."

Whatever was going on
in Tehran that night,

there was definitely
something odd and strange.

And the documentation,

even decades after the event,
can't explain it.

Top secret government evidence,

compelling eyewitnesses
and radar testimony

suggest that advanced unknown technology
is threatening our air space,

and we may be powerless to stop it.

Many pilots have engaged a UFO,

only to have that unknown craft
outmaneuver their jets,

and worse,
disable their instruments and weapons.

But what happens
when a shoot-down order is given

and the pilot fires his missiles?

Unsealed case file:
the Peru incident.

La Joya, Peru. April 11th, 1980.

In April of 1980,

uh, an object was detected
on radar , uh, in Peru.

This is about 7:30 in the evening.

This is the case of Oscar Santa Maria.

And he was an Air Force commander

who was, uh, scrambled
in response to an uncorrelated target

that was being tracked on military radar.

[narrator] Almost 2,000 personnel

are on shift
at Mariano Melgar Air Force Base

when what looks like a weather balloon
is spotted near a high-security area.

A UFO had apparently penetrated

and was operating
within restricted military air space,

and he was ordered to open fire.

[narrator] Pilot Oscar Santa Maria Huertas

is scrambled in his SU-22
Russian-made fighter jet

equipped with 30-millimeter cannon.

Ready with a shoot-down order,

he flies directly
toward the unknown target.

But what happens next

is widely considered to be
the only reported direct hit

on a UFO in military history.

So, he rolls up on this thing

and fires off his cannons
into this balloon.

He said that
unlike any conventional object,

he said, it was almost as if
the rounds from his cannon

were absorbed by this craft,
whatever it was.

It doesn't blow up. Nothing happens.

It seems to ignore the bullets

and then just ascends into the air
at a high rate of speed.


[narrator] It's a scenario
that is every fighter pilot's nightmare.

His weapons are useless.

Still under a shoot-down order,

Santa Maria spends the next 20 minutes
playing cat-and-mouse with the UFO,

trying to take another shot.

When he gets close enough
to make solid visual contact,

what he sees astounds him.

Now, I've met the comandante.
I've heard it from him first hand.

I have absolutely no doubt

that this happened
exactly as he described.

[narrator] Santa Maria claims
the UFO is shaped like a light bulb,

cut off at the bottom
with a cream-colored dome.

It has no visible means of propulsion.
No windows, no wings.

This now declassified official account
of the incident

is sent to the DIA.

It states that the pilot
"intercepted the vehicle and fired upon it

without causing any apparent damage."

Believing the UFO is advanced technology
from an extraterrestrial civilization,

Santa Maria fears for his life
and rapidly descends back to base.

Fortunately, the UFO does not follow.

It's a combat situation,

and any pilot in combat
will be under extreme stress,

and--and clearly, if you add to that

the factor that, uh,
you're dealing with an unknown,

uh, it takes it
to a--a completely different level.

[narrator] What exactly
did Santa Maria see

in the skies above Peru?

Did he fire upon a UFO?

Did he actually make a direct hit,

or did he simply
succumb to the intense pressure

of intercepting an unknown threat?

So, there's the extreme stress
of combat in an unknown situation,

and the very realistic prospect of death.

So, you get this kind of conflict
that on the one hand,

they're involved in this
maybe highly classified effort

to engage with UFOs,
and then after it's all over,

it's like, "Hey, this didn't happen."

So, I think pilots are being put

under extreme stress
at both ends of the--the spectrum.

During the encounter,
it's--it's the combat stress,

and afterwards, it's that stress
of--of secrecy and threats.

[narrator] Caught between defending
our skies from unidentified threats

and the possibility
of Air Force reprisals,

the testimony of pilots
who have been ordered

to shoot down an unknown craft
is critical to the study of UFOs,

But can their efforts
be mistaken as an act of war?

Unsealed case file:
the COMETA Report.

This report was entitled
"UFOs: what should we prepare for?"

In 1999, the COMETA Report
was published in France,

which really outlined
what the evidence was

that supported
that the UFO phenomena was real

and it was, quite possibly,
a threat to the world as a whole.

[Pope] It came to the twin
conclusions, i-in effect,

that, uh, UFOs at some level
were a real solid tangible thing

and they were seriously prepared
to consider the possibility

that these things were, indeed,
extraterrestrial spacecraft.

Whatever you believe about UFOs,

if you've got something flying
in--in such a controlled air space,

well, that's something that
should be taken seriously,

whether you're a believer or a skeptic.

[narrator] The 13-member panel,

made up of some of the brightest

government, military,
and scientific minds in France,

hand down a stunning recommendation.

It outlined the fact that
we needed to try and figure out a defense,

uh, a way to ward off
and fend off any enemies

that may be encroaching into our air space
and trying to invade our planet.

Are they visiting our planet?

Thousands of witnesses,
uh, contactees would tell you yes.

We protect a lot here on the planet Earth,

but the minute
an alien civilization lands on Earth,

that changes in a second.

[narrator] The COMETA Report
questions the Earth's ability

to defend against an unknown enemy attack.

If an alien spacecraft visits Earth
and it's made out of nuts and bolts,

pending no science fiction-like
shield around it,

I'm guessing we could probably
find a way to shoot it out of the sky.

But the big debate for me is "Why?"

You know, you're either gonna successfully
shoot down one craft of an alien race

and potentially upset a much bigger force
that has bigger guns than us.

I don't think that that's something
that our pilots would do.

I think we need to
start crossing our fingers

that they don't have any bad intentions.

Because, quite frankly,

I don't think we're gonna have
the, uh, ability to get rid of them.

[narrator] When the day comes,

do we need to rethink how we approach
unknown visitors in our skies?

This is Unsealed: Alien Files,

exposing the biggest secret
on planet Earth.