What Were the Strange Lights?

As the end of the 70s approached, the Manises UFO Incident gained attention when in November of 1979, a commercial flight was forced to make an emergency landing at the Manises airport located in Valencia, Spain. It was suspected that an unidentified flying object was the culprit in this occurrence. Carrying a little more than 100 passengers, flight JK-297 departed from Salzburg, Austria and stopped in Mallorca for refueling before setting off to reach its final destination of Las Palmas.


Halfway through the flight, around 11 pm, the pilot, Francisco Javier Lerdo de Tejada and his crew saw something quite odd in the sky. A set of red lights seemed to be approaching the aircraft. As time passed, the crew began to panic as the lights were on a one-way course towards colliding with their aircraft. The captain tried to request information regarding the unexplainable lights, but the military radar stationed in Madrid or contact with the flight control center in Barcelona could give a reasonable explanation to what they were encountering.


As a possible collision looked inevitable, the captain altered his altitude plans for the airplane, but the lights mimicked the movements of the plan and could be seen close to ½ kilometer away from the aircraft. Eventually, the captain changed the flight plan and ordered an emergency landing at the Manises airport. The emergency landing became a landmark move because it was the first time that a commercial flight was forced to change their plans for what was being called a UFO.


Just before the landing, the lights ceased to follow the aircraft. As the reports go, it is stated that three UFOs were detected on the radar, where each one was thought to possess a diameter of 200 meters. Several witnesses also furnished reports regarding the incident. It is said that one of the unidentified flying objects passed the landing strip very close to land. Its presence also prompted the use of emergency lights because employees feared that the strange light was part of an unregistered flight that might be coming in for a crash landing.


Another similar incident involving lights following an aircraft includes the 1978 incident regarding what was called the Kaikoura Lights. A Safe Air freight plane traveling off of the coast of Kaijoura in New Zealand, encountered a series of strange lights that changed color and size. The incident attracted the attention of the media and was later investigated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the police department, as well as the Centre Observatory located in Wellington.


The outcome of the findings dismissed the lights as reflections coming from a boat in the water below the aircraft as well as visions coming from Venus. Overall, the incident received the Top Secret stamp as being a classified event, which is now part of the National Archives in Wellington.